Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



Who's being held in contempt?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Lambasting top Cook County officials in court last week, a federal judge couldn't fathom why Board President John Stroger & Co. didn't budget a major increase for new guards at the County Jail.

"The fact that there is nothing in this budget, as proposed so far today, to meet those staffing needs, can only be described as mind-boggling," huffed U.S. District Judge George Marovich. "Do you people ever talk to one another? ... There are some problems here, people, that need to be solved."

There are problems, all right. But Marovich is advocating the wrong remedy.

The sheriff's office needs a bigger payroll like Donald Trump needs a bigger ego.

The sheriff's office has a bloated, unaccountable patronage army. Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan wants even more people. Stroger has griped about those demands but hasn't forced Sheahan to run a more efficient operation.

Judge Marovich, who oversees a consent decree dealing with inmate population and staffing at the jail, thinks new guards would make the facility safer and more humane. There might have been a stronger argument for that a few years ago, when the jail population was soaring. But the world of the sheriff's office is changing.

Consider the trends:

- The average Cook County Jail population has dropped from more than 11,000 in 2002 to about 9,700 today.

- Crime in unincorporated Cook County, over which Sheahan has jurisdiction, has dropped by 28 percent since 1996.

- The unincorporated area patrolled by the sheriff's police has shrunk by 53 percent in the last six years, thanks to annexations by local towns. Cook County had about 160 square miles of unincorporated area in 1997. By 2004, the sheriff's unincorporated jurisdiction had shrunk to about 64 square miles.

- In 1991 the county had 11 uniformed patrol officers for every 10,000 residents in the unincorporated areas. Now it has nearly 26 officers per 10,000 residents.

- Between 1994 and 2004, the sheriff's budget swelled by more than $163 million, or 64 percent.

So the logical response is ... to dramatically expand the sheriff's payroll?

If the sheriff needs more jail guards, he can find them within his budget. According to Commissioner Michael Quigley, who has studied the sheriff's operations, hundreds of new guard positions could be created under the existing budget if the County Board forced the issue.

Sheahan could reallocate money and positions, run a more efficient operation and take advantage of opportunities to save millions of dollars. But he doesn't see it that way.

"We shouldn't have to rob from Peter to pay Paul," said Sheahan spokesman Bill Cunningham. "We're not going to take sheriff's police officers off the street to staff Cook County Jail."

No one is talking about risking public safety. Process serving and janitorial services could be outsourced at a savings. Jail overcrowding could be alleviated by placing more non-violent inmates on electronic monitoring at home. The county-run boot camp costs more than $7 million a year to run. Some of those folks could go to state boot camps.

"Just because you care about law and order, don't believe everything the guy with the badge says," Quigley said. "Otherwise, bring out your checkbook."

Judge Marovich has suggested he will hold board members in contempt if they don't come up with hundreds of new jail guards by late February. It will be a shock if Stroger and Co. work that fast.

No, they don't want to risk the judge's wrath, they don't want to be held in contempt of court.

But the answer isn't to hold the taxpayers in contempt.



Recent Headlines

Berrios relatives risk injury for right to crowd county payroll
Tuesday, July 29, 2104
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserve HQ plans expansion in River Forest
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Records falsified in Metra work logs
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

How we shaft the mentally ill
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

County Board Of Review To Digitize, Streamline Property Tax Appeals System
Monday, July 28, 2014
Journal Online

Three DUI arrests, revoked license still on sheriff's payroll
Monday, July 28, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County approves road projects for upcoming years
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Northwest Indiana Times

Palatine, County Forest Preserve To Partner Up
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Palatine Journal Online

Man dies following beating at Cook County Jail
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health Board selects new leaders
Friday, July 25, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

The PrivateBank pledges $10 million to the Cook County Land Bank
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners switch votes, rehire erstwhile contractor
Friday, July 25, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board adds two questions to packed fall ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Cook County to cut buildings' carbon emissions
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Fox 32 Chicago

Cook County Board sends assault weapons referendum to the ballot
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County mulls fund-of-funds investment, other changes
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pensions & Investments

Forest Preserves of Cook County to get expertise, guidance from new Policy Council
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Special to suffredin.org

Preserves and parks offering memorial trees and benches for a price
Monday, July 21, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Community leaders, sheriff aim to help mentally ill inmates
Monday, July 21, 2014
FOX 32 Chicago

TIF Revenue Down 2 Percent in Suburban Cook Co.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Palatine Patch

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP