of Technical Inspections is divided into seven sections
corresponding to various construction trades as follows:
(1) Boiler Inspection Section;
(2) Construction Inspection Section;
(3) Electrical Inspection Section;
(4) Elevator Inspection Section;
(5) Iron Inspection Section;
(6) Mechanical Equipment Inspection Section; and
(7) Plumbing Inspection Section.
11. The chain of command relevant to Vrdolyak's position begins
with the Mayor of the City of Chicago. Below the Mayor is the
Commissioner of the Department of Inspectional Services, a
cabinet level position.*fn1 Below the Commissioner are two
Deputy Commissioners.*fn2 Also reporting to the Commissioner and
subordinate to the Deputy Commissioners is an Assistant
12. Reporting directly to the Deputy Commissioners are the
Directors of the four Bureaus. Since January, 1980, James Brick
has been employed as director of the Bureau of Technical
Inspections. Vrdolyak, as Assistant Director, reports to James
Brick. Below Vrdolyak are the chiefs of the seven inspection
sections. In addition to the chiefs, there are assistant chiefs
and superintendents, depending on the section. Finally, at the
end of the chain of command are the field workers of the seven
sections who are the inspectors.
13. The duties of the position held by Vrdolyak, Assistant
Director of Technical Inspection, include: assisting the Director
of the Bureau of Technical Inspections in the coordination of the
Bureau's operations and procedures; assisting the Director in
formulating and enforcing work quality and performance standards
for the seven technical sections; addressing complaints and
answering correspondence; assisting the Director in matters
regarding Building Code amendments, revisions and deletions;
coordinating special inspection programs; assisting the Director
by meeting with City attorneys and Bureau personnel regarding
Bureau litigation; assuming the duties and responsibilities of
the Director in his absence; and, in the Director's absence and
upon his request, meeting with various outside groups as the
representative of the Bureau of Technical Inspections. See
Plaintiff's Exhibit 3.
14. In addition, Vrdolyak spends a substantial amount of his
time as the head of the Iron Section. Director Brick estimates
that Vrdolyak spends 85 to 90 percent of his time on Iron Section
work; Vrdolyak estimates the proportion to be about 50 to 60
D. Plaintiff's Employment History
15. After graduating from high school, Vrdolyak served in the
United States Navy and Army Air Force before completing one year
of study at DePaul University in a pre-law program. Vrdolyak then
spent the next several years in the construction trades as
foreman, general foreman, job superintendent and project manager.
Vrdolyak's duties as project manager included overall
responsibility for all trades on the job, such as electricians,
bricklayers, boilermakers, carpenters, laborers, pipefitters, and
ironworkers. Vrdolyak's duties, as project manager, also included
reviewing and inspecting all work in progress to ensure that it
conformed to the architect's plans and specifications and the
Building Code of the City of Chicago. During the 1960s, Vrdolyak
was employed by the State of Illinois as a construction safety
inspector. He left that employment in 1969 and returned to
16. Vrdolyak applied for employment with the City's Department
of Buildings on May 2, 1975. He was employed by that Department
from June 4, 1975 to February
1, 1977, as a Structural Iron Inspector. From February 1, 1977 to
January 1, 1980, Vrdolyak was employed by the Department as
Assistant Chief Iron Inspector. When the Department of Buildings
was reorganized into the Department of Inspectional Services,
Vrdolyak became the Supervising Iron Inspector and held that
position from January 1, 1980 to January 1, 1981. On January 1,
1981, Vrdolyak was appointed Assistant Director of the Bureau of
Technical Inspections in the Department of Inspectional Services
at an annual salary of $32,772. On January 1, 1982, his salary
was raised to $45,240. On January 1, 1983, Mr. Vrdolyak's salary
was raised to $47,508.
17. Prior to his termination on November 4, 1983, Vrdolyak had
not received any complaints regarding the performance of his
duties. Neither former Commissioner Duggan, nor Director Brick,
had ever received information indicating that Vrdolyak was not
performing his responsibilities properly.
E. Events Preceding Plaintiff's Termination
18. Plaintiff Peter J. Vrdolyak is the older brother of Edward
R. Vrdolyak, Alderman of the 10th Ward of the City of Chicago.
Alderman Vrdolyak has been widely portrayed by the Chicago media
as one of the principal political opponents of Mayor Washington.
During the Mayoral primary campaign of February, 1983, Peter
Vrdolyak visibly and actively supported the candidacy of then
Mayor Jane M. Byrne. In addition, Peter Vrdolyak has been
politically active in the 10th Ward Regular Democratic
19. On April 12, 1983, defendant Harold Washington was elected
Mayor of the City of Chicago.
20. On Friday, August 26, 1983, The Daily Calumet published an
article entitled "City Lays Off 2,000 Workers: Vrdolyak's Brother
Peter Heads the List," written by John Kass and Mark Eissanan.
According to the article, a source described as a "[Mayor]
Washington spokesman" stated that Vrdolyak had lost his job even
though formal notice of termination was not received by Vrdolyak
until more than two months later. Brick, Vrdolyak's immediate
supervisor, and then Commissioner Duggan both testified that
prior to publication of the article neither had received any
request from the Mayor's office regarding Vrdolyak's work as
Assistant Director nor had they received any information
regarding the termination of Vrdolyak.
21. In September, 1983, both Commissioner Duggan and Deputy
Commissioner Nick Fera were terminated from their positions in
the Department of Inspectional Services by the Washington
administration. At that time, defendant Manley became Acting
Commissioner of the Department.
22. On September 21, 1983, Vrdolyak was interviewed by Rose
Macon, a consultant retained by the Washington administration. At
the beginning of the interview Vrdolyak was asked if he was
related to 10th Ward Alderman Edward R. Vrdolyak. Vrdolyak
confirmed that he is the older brother of the Alderman. Macon
admitted that, at the time of the interview, she knew Vrdolyak's
brother was reported to be the Mayor's principal political
23. Prior to Vrdolyak's termination, Acting Commissioner Manley
believed that he could terminate Vrdolyak because Vrdolyak held
an exempt position. In addition, Assistant Commissioner Browning
believed that Vrdolyak could be fired for political reasons since
his position is exempt and "belongs to the Mayor." Transcript at
24. On September 23, 1983, Acting Commissioner Manley issued a
memorandum directed to the Department's Section Chiefs and
Program Persons which stated, in part:
It shall be the policy of this administration that
ability and demonstrated performance will be the sole
basis of retention and promotion.
Defendants' Exhibit 31.
25. On Friday, November 4, 1983, Vrdolyak received from Manley
a letter dated November 2, 1983, notifying Vrdolyak that he was
terminated effective November 9, 1983, from his position as
Assistant Director of Technical Inspections in the Department of
Inspectional Services. The letter gives no reason for the
termination. The letter indicates that copies were sent to
Charles Hunter and Ira Bach of the Mayor's office; William Ware,
the Mayor's Chief Administrative Assistant; James Montgomery,
Corporation Counsel; and Charles Pounian, City Commissioner of
26. Vrdolyak was not offered a demotion or lateral transfer or
given an opportunity to secure any other type of employment with
the City. Acting Commissioner Manley testified that he never
considered any of these alternatives to termination.
27. On November 7, 1983, Channel 5 television news reporter Art
Noonan reported that Acting Commissioner Manley stated the
following in regard to Vrdolyak's termination:
If, indeed, we are going to provide a better service,
I think that that office, that individual, that that
position can better be served by someone else that is
in concert with what my provisions are, with what my
aims and applications are for the Department. It has
nothing to do with any political implications,
identifications, or anything else.
At trial, Manley did not recall giving the statement but admitted
that, "[i]t sounds like my language." Transcript at 258. Manley
testified that Vrdolyak was not terminated for budgetary reasons.
28. A total of ten employees, including Vrdolyak, were
terminated by Acting Commissioner Manley on November 2, 1983. The
nine other employees terminated were: Herman Moses, Director of
Licensing, Registration and Permits; Conrad Nicosia, Data
Services Administrator; Kenneth Gula, Construction Inspection
Supervisor; Stanley Scherr, Supervisor of Administrative
Services; Pascal J. Sabino, District Director; Franklin
Truesdale, Construction Inspection Supervisor; Leonard A.
Waitches, Records Administrator; Nick O. Spino, District
Director; and Anton Hipsky, Staff Assistant. Five of the
employees terminated on November 2, 1983, are currently employed
by the City. Sabino, Spino, Waitches, Truesdale and Gula are
presently employed by the Department of Inspectional Services.
29. To the extent that any of the foregoing findings of fact
are deemed to be conclusions of law, they are hereby adopted as
conclusions of law.
II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Based on the foregoing findings of fact, the Court makes the
following conclusions of law:
1. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the claims
asserted in this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the
"Order Retaining Jurisdiction as to City Exemptions" entered June
20, 1983, in Shakman v. Democratic Organization of Cook County,
No. 69 C 2145 (N.D.Ill. 1983).
2. Venue properly lies with this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.
3. The Court has previously dismissed defendants Harold
Washington and Charles Pounian from the case pursuant to Rule
41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Transcript of
Proceedings at 404.
4. Plaintiff Peter J. Vrdolyak, a City employee and registered
voter, has standing to bring this suit under the Shakman Decree.
See Petition of Richard L. Voytas, 560 F. Supp. 863, 865 (N.D.Ill.
A. The Exempt Issue
5. In determining whether a position is properly listed as
exempt under Schedule G of the June 20, 1983 Decree, the Court
relies upon the "policymaker exception" to the first amendment's
protection of public employees. See Shakman v. Democratic
Organization of Cook County, 722 F.2d 1307 (7th Cir. 1983)
(Petition of Lindsey). A position is properly listed as exempt if
"the hiring authority can demonstrate that party affiliation is
an appropriate requirement for the effective performance of the
public office involved." Branti v. Finkel, 445 U.S. 507, 518, 100
S.Ct. 1287, 1295, 63 L.Ed.2d 574 (1980).
Positions which may require party affiliation often are
positions which authorize,
either directly or indirectly, "meaningful input into government
decisionmaking on issues where there is room for principled
disagreement on goals or their implementation." Shakman v.
Democratic Organization of Cook County, 722 F.2d 1307, 1309 (7th
Cir. 1983) (Petition of Lindsey). Factors which are relevant to
this inquiry include: (1) whether the position involves
policymaking and requires confidentiality; (2) whether the
responsibilities of the position are broadly defined; (3) whether
the subject matter of the duties are highly sensitive; (4)
whether the nature of the position requires a close working
relationship with policymakers; and (5) whether considerations of
personal loyalty are appropriate. See generally Petition of
Lindsey, supra, 722 F.2d 1307; Petition of Lindsey, 552 F. Supp. 907
7. The ultimate purpose of the policymaker exception is "to
ensure that the first amendment's protection not interfere with
the workings of democratic governments and the ability of duly
elected officials to implement their policies." Petition of
Lindsey, supra, 722 F.2d at 1310. It is important, however, "not
to confuse the interest of partisan organizations with
governmental interests." Elrod v. Burns,