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(Chicago Tribune) — A federal watchdog on Wednesday awarded nearly $556,000 to job applicants and workers harmed by illegal political favoritism in hiring at the Cook County Forest Preserve District.  Court-appointed hiring monitor Jan Carlson determined 105 people were denied job opportunities, fired, not promoted or wrongly disciplined because of political patronage between June 1, 2005, and March 5, 2009.  “The claims brought before the (court monitor) involved primarily the manipulation of the hiring process to benefit lesser qualified but politically connected job candidates,” stated a report filed by Carlson in U.S. District Court.

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