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County planning director retires after anonymous letters

Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter

Three months after an internal investigation was launched into her spending of tax dollars, Cook County planning director Gwendolyn Clemons is retiring.

Cook County Board President John Stroger lamented her departure during Tuesday's board meeting, putting some blame on the media focus on that investigation, prompted by an anonymous letter.

Clemons' resignation comes just two weeks after another anonymous letter hurled more accusations of improprieties at Clemons.

The letters, sent to board members and the press, have raised questions about travel, as well as work done by county contractors.

Clemons, who coordinated development and planning for the county, has been working for the county since 1993 and makes more than $110,000 a year.

Stroger said the politics and pressures that came with those anonymous letters were driving Clemons into retirement earlier than he'd prefer. "He has all the respect in the world for her," Stroger spokeswoman Caryn Stancik said. "She's done a good job and he's sad to see her go."

The first anonymous letter detailing allegations against Clemons came in July, and Stroger forwarded it to his inspector general.

Clemons could not be reached.



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