Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



Zoo, garden lack diverse staff
Blacks, Hispanics make up tiny part of full-time workers

Friday, January 06, 2006
Chicago Tribune
by Mickey Ciokajlo

Reacting to an annual employment diversity report, a pair of Cook County commissioners Thursday aimed sharp criticism at the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden for not hiring more minorities.

"I think that those numbers are pathetic," Commissioner Roberto Maldonado (D-Chicago) said. "A quarter of their budget is paid for by the taxpayers of the county, so therefore we have the right to demand from them ... [a] fair chance to Hispanics and African-Americans to work in those institutions."

Two percent of the full-time employees at the Brookfield Zoo are African-American and 6 percent are Hispanic, according to figures released by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

At the botanic garden, 3 percent of full-time workers are African-American and 12 percent are Hispanic.

The facilities are managed by separate, independent not-for-profit organizations, but they are owned by, and receive funding from, the Forest Preserve District.

"I think in all fairness we need to improve the numbers to reflect the makeup of Cook County," said Commissioner Bobbie Steele, a black Democrat who represents parts of Chicago's West Side.

Steele noted with dismay that the figures showed no full-time black laborers working at the botanic garden.

"When I see no representation of minorities in those positions at the garden, you know, that's thoroughly disappointing to me," Steele said.

Sue Markgraf, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Botanic Garden, said executives there are aware of the need to hire more minorities, and "it is something we are working on."

Markgraf said the garden posts job openings on various Web sites as well as in newspapers in minority communities.

The garden is on Cook County's northern border in Glencoe. Transportation has been an issue in attempts to boost minority employment, and that is another area the garden is working to address, Markgraf said.

Stuart Strahl, chief executive and president of the Chicago Zoological Society, which runs Brookfield Zoo, said the institution has made diversity a key focus since he arrived two years ago.

Before he was hired, Strahl said the executive management team included no minorities. Now, there are two, he said. The team works with community groups and schools to encourage young people to see the zoo as a career opportunity, which is a challenge nationwide in the scientific fields, Strahl said.

"We're really focused," he said. "It's a matter, though, of not just recruitment but of training and career building."

Strahl noted that about 25 percent of the zoo's part-time employees are minorities.

"That is where we feel strongly that we can grow our diversity by starting in the part-time ranks and then working up from there," Strahl said.

When seasonal employment is factored in, 10 percent of the zoo's nearly 1,000 workers are African-Americans and 13 percent are Hispanic. At the garden, 4 percent are black and 20 percent Hispanic when seasonal workers are included, according to the report.

In terms of funding, the zoo receives about $14 million in Cook County property taxes annually, while the garden gets nearly $9 million, according to the Forest Preserve District's 2006 budget.

County Board President John Stroger, the first African-American to hold the position, said leaders have improved the minority employment figures at the Forest Preserve District. However, he noted that he does not control hiring at the independent zoo and garden.

"Getting minorities out to the botanic garden is not the easiest thing to do," Stroger said. "I think I've been on the same wavelength ... to try to open the process up. But I'm not going to perform, and cannot perform, a miracle."

Maldonado said Latinos regularly travel from the city to jobs in the collar counties.

The Forest Preserve District, which Stroger controls, has African-Americans in 29 percent of its full-time and seasonal ranks.

Eight percent of the workers are Hispanic, according to the report.

Maldonado said he intends to introduce an affirmative action ordinance that he said would essentially force the governments, along with the zoo and the garden, to hire more minorities.

Although dismayed at the employment figures, Steele credited the garden for reaching into minority communities with horticultural and other programs.



Recent Headlines

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER SUFFREDIN
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Assessorís Office Publicly Releases Residential Assessment Code and Models
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

EDITORIAL: Long in the MWRD pipeline, IG plan needs a yes vote
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Cuts Ribbon on Outpatient Center in Arlington Heights
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Homeowners in Chicago have just a few weeks to get current on their 2017 property taxes - or risk losing their homes. WBEZís Odette Yousef reports.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
WBEZ Chiacgo Public Radio

Editorial: The Foxx-Smollett questions for Inspector General Blanchard
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County pet owners warned of spring coyote dangers
Monday, April 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County inspector general to review prosecutors' handling of Jussie Smollett case
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Foxx requests Cook County IG investigation into handling of Jussie Smollett case
Friday, April 12, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A challenge to one of Chicago's biggest draws for companies
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

What Evanston's assessments tell us about the new assessor's new math
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

$3.85 million granted in lawsuit against ex-Cook County forest preserve worker charged in fatal on-the-job crash
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

A Day in the Life of a Cook County Burn Crew
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
WTTW News

EDITORIAL: Splitting up the regionís sanitation board is an idea that stinks
Monday, April 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawmakers Look To Keep 10-Year-Olds Out Of Jail
Thursday, April 04, 2019

Property Tax Workshops Help Homeowners Appeal Assessments
Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Large crowds of Evanston residents turn out to appeal property tax assessments
Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Family of slain cabbie accuses Cook County state's attorney's office of dodging FOIA request
Monday, April 01, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Property Tax Appeal Seminar Set For New Trier Township Residents
Monday, April 01, 2019
Journal and Topics Online

all news items

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