The Shakman decrees. They’ve been around longer than many of us have been alive.

Since Richard J. Daley was mayor? Yes. Chicago lawyer Michael Shakman first sued to upend the Chicago machine’s patronage hiring system in 1969. Since the year Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie lost his bid for reelection? Yes, again. The first court-sanctioned Shakman decree took effect in 1972.

At one point, Shakman decrees governed employment practices in Chicago, Cook County, state government and a handful of other jurisdictions in Illinois. They sought to wipe out political influence in the hiring, promotion, pay and firing of public employees.

The decrees governing Chicago and Cook County were vacated years ago. Last week, the state got its turn.

Read more at the

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.