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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



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

Chicago transitional center, program for mentally disabled prison inmates helps them learn coping skills
Monday, June 29, 2015
The News-Sentinel

Vote could be close on Preckwinkle sales tax
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Chicago Tribune

After Long Fight, Cook County RNs Win New Tentative Pact with Staffing, Economic Improvements
Saturday, June 27, 2015
E News Park Forest

4-H contest brings chickens, crafts to Toyota Park
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Chicago Tribune

'History of Surgery' shares stories of Cook County Hospital
Saturday, June 27, 2015
The Daily Journal Kankakee

Proposed county sales tax hike gets pushback
Friday, June 26, 2015
Austin Weekly News

Cook County reaches tentative contract with nurses
Friday, June 26, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Obamacare ruling 'a relief,' Cook County health official says
Friday, June 26, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Pols will keep talking about Obamacareóbut it's here to stay
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Businesses Fear Sales Tax Hike Would Send Customers Away
Thursday, June 25, 2015
CBS Chicago

Cook County sales tax hike should be 'very last resort,' GOP leader says
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Daily Herald

Preckwinkle proposes 1-cent sales tax increase for Cook County
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
WLS

Preckwinkle stirs up a tempest with sales tax hike
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

US Supreme Court rules in favor of Obamacare subsidies
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Not so fast on county sales tax hike
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County 4-H Fair June 27 at Toyota Park
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The Beverly Review

Business owners on Cook County border fear tax hike
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle defends plan to boost sales tax, blames pension crisis
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
WBEZ

Preckwinkle Eyes 1% Sales Tax Hike For Cook County
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Progress Illinois

Preckwinkle taps new budget director
Monday, June 22, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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