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COFFEY v. COX

August 20, 2002

CHARLES G. COFFEY, PLAINTIFF,
V.
JAMES C. COX, JOSEPH GALASSI, JAMES SIMMONS, AND MICHAEL STANG, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge.

OPINION

Different parties.

But, the same claim.

And, the same lack of evidence.

So, the same result.

Summary judgment is granted as to all Defendants.

I. BACKGROUND

In December 1998, two stationary engineer positions became available in the power plant at the Illinois Department of Corrections' ("IDOC") Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Illinois. Announcements for these two vacant stationary engineer positions were posted that same month. Plaintiff Charles Coffey, Edward Jankauski, Jeffrey Short, and several other candidates applied for these positions and were interviewed by IDOC employees in early 1999. However, no candidates were ever hired as a result of these interviews.

On June 1, 1999, Defendant James Cox became the Warden of the Logan Correctional Center. In August 1999, Defendant Michael Stang*fn1 and Warden Cox learned that the two stationary engineer positions were still vacant, and they agreed that the positions should be filled quickly for economic reasons.

Accordingly, Warden Cox directed his personnel office to post a position-opening announcement describing the two stationary engineer positions and listing them as being available. This announcement was posted later that same month. Eleven candidates applied for the positions, including Coffey, Short, and Jankauski.

Warden Cox selected Defendants Joseph Galassi and James Simmons to interview the candidates for the stationary engineer positions because he knew that both of them had been trained as to the meaning and requirements of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, 497 U.S. 62, 110 S.Ct. 2729, 111 L.Ed.2d 52 (1990), and because he knew that both of them had previously conducted interviews for IDOC.*fn2 Galassi and Simmons were provided with copies of a pre-existing interview questionnaire which contained questions to be asked during the stationary engineer interviews. Neither Galassi nor Simmons received any recommendations, political or otherwise, on behalf of any of the applicants for the stationary engineer positions, nor did they learn of any such recommendations.*fn3

All eleven applicants were scheduled to be interviewed on September 1, 1999.*fn4 During the interviews, Galassi and Simmons asked each applicant an identical set of questions from the pre-existing interview questionnaire relating to the candidates' experience and qualifications for the stationary engineer positions. Paul Givens, who at the time was the chief engineer responsible for supervising all of the power plant employees at the Logan Correctional Center, attended some of the interviews and assisted Galassi and Simmons by advising them regarding the appropriate answers to certain technical questions on the questionnaire. However, Givens did not score the candidates' answers or assist in any way with the ranking of the candidates. In addition, none of the candidates were questioned about politics, political support, political affiliation, or political activities at any time during the application or interview process.

Sometime during the first week of September 1999, Tami Williams, Logan Correctional Center's human resource coordinator, calculated a weighted score for each applicant by applying a prescribed formula to the combined scores assigned by Galassi and Simmons. The scores and comments regarding each candidate were recorded on a "Candidate Evaluation Form." The top five candidates scored as follows: (1) Jeffrey Short: 16.9; (2) Edward Jankauski: 13.95; (3) Jackie Hurley: 12; (4)(tied) David Fleshman: 9.3; and (5)(tied) Charles Coffey: 9.3.

Thereafter, Warden Cox contacted Stang and recommended Short and Jankauski for the stationary engineer positions. Stang accepted Warden Cox's recommendations, and Short and Jankauski were offered the positions. Warden Cox then informed the ...


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