BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

MARY JO MACALALAG FALCON ,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6211991.

 

Commission No.  08 CH 82

FILED -  August 27, 2008

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Melissa A. Smart, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Mary Jo Macalalag Falcon, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on May 4, 1993, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or which brings the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

Falsifying hiring documents and falsely certifying Shakman referral lists

1. At all times alleged in this complaint, pursuant to orders and decrees entered by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and consented to by the City of Chicago, in the case of Shakman, et al. v. The Democratic Organization of Cook County, et al., 69 C 2145, all employees of the City of Chicago were permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly, in whole or in part:

  1. conditioning, basing, or knowingly prejudicing or affecting any term or aspect of governmental employee, or affecting the hiring of any person as a governmental employee (other than for positions exempt from the Shakman decrees), upon or because of any political reason or factor including, without limitation, any prospective employee's political affiliation, political support or activity, political financial contributions, promises of such political support, activity or financial contributions, or such prospective employee's political sponsorship or recommendations; and

  2. knowingly inducing, aiding, abetting, participating in, cooperating with or encouraging the commission of any act which is proscribed by the orders and decrees.

2. At all times alleged in this complaint, and pursuant to the orders and decrees (known as the "Shakman Decrees"), stated in Paragraph One, above, the City of Chicago required those officials responsible for hiring and promotions to certify and maintain as part of the hiring process, documents known as "Shakman referral lists." The Shakman referral list stated, "I understand that political considerations may in no manner enter into the decisions to hire employees for the city of Chicago. I understand that any person who willfully violates this may be subject to both administrative and legal action. I verify that to the best of my knowledge political considerations did not enter into the hiring decisions documented on this form."

3. From in or around June of 1994 through 2005, Respondent was employed at various positions for the City of Chicago. In or about 1995, Respondent was appointed Director of Personnel of the Sewer Department. In or about 1999, Respondent was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Sewer Department. In or about December 2002, when the Sewer Department merged with the Water Department to form the Department of Water Management, Respondent assumed the position of Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Water Management and held that position until she resigned in 2005.

4. Starting in 1995, while employed as Director of Personnel of the Sewer Department, continuing through 2005, when Respondent was Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Water Management, Respondent oversaw the hiring and promoting of employees in the departments. Most, if not all, of these positions were considered "Shakman covered" positions, meaning the hiring and promotion of potential job applicants for these positions had to comply with the 1983 "Shakman Decree," which made it unlawful to take any political factor into account in hiring public employees, as stated in Paragraph One, above.

5. At all times alleged in this complaint, Respondent was aware of the Shakman Decree and understood the responsibilities and restrictions inherent in the Shakman Decree, as stated in Paragraphs One and Two, above, as they related to City of Chicago hiring policies.

6. Starting in 1995, continuing through 2004, prior to hiring or promoting to fill positions in her department, Respondent met with representatives of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs ("IGA"), a division within the Office of the Mayor of the City of Chicago, in order to receive a list of names. Respondent knew that those named on the list were individuals who were expected to be interviewed and hired for certain positions within her department because of their political involvement, affiliation or work on certain political campaigns.

7. After receiving the list from IGA, Respondent granted interviews to the individuals on the list.

8. Prior to the interviews, Respondent notified the department hiring panels of the names on the IGA list, and she communicated to the hiring panels that those who were named on the IGA list were expected to get the job, so they should adjust their interview score sheets accordingly.

9. Following the hiring panel scoring process, Respondent reviewed the ratings of each candidate and sometimes changed a score, or generated a new ratings sheet and discarded the old one, in order to ensure that an individual on the IGA list would obtain the position over other applicants.

10. Respondent's conduct, as described in Paragraphs Six through Nine, above, was improper and designed to circumvent the Shakman Decree.

11. From 1995 through 2004, following the hiring and promotion procedure described in Paragraphs Six through Ten, above, Respondent repeatedly certified and signed Shakman referral lists, as described in Paragraph Two, above.

12. The statements certified by Respondent in signing the Shakman referral lists were false and Respondent knew they were false at the time she made them, as the hiring and promotion of Shakman-covered positions was based on political considerations, and Respondent knew the hiring and promotion was based on political considerations.

13. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4);

  2. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(5); and

  3. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

  Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Melissa A. Smart