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Cook County Board president aware of political fight, friends say

Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Chicago Defender
by AP

CHICAGO (AP) - Cook County Board President John Stroger continues to recover from a stroke and was aware Tuesday of the political fight over his job, friends who visited him said.

Stroger, 77, hasn't been heard from since his March 14 stroke, and his Republican opponent in the November election, Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica, said Tuesday he wanted a hearing on Stroger's ability to serve.

Other commissioners blasted Peraica, calling his move "a disgrace" and "disrespectful," and they voted against sending to committee a resolution on the matter that Peraica proposed. But that won't keep it off the board's agenda for a meeting in two weeks.

"I think this resolution has truly crossed the line," Commissioner Deborah Sims said.

But Commissioner Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman said the board can't escape issues surrounding Stroger's absence.

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"There's so many questions out there as to who's minding the store," Gorman said.

Chinta Strausberg, a spokeswoman for Stroger's office, said Monday that Stroger's chief of staff, Jim Whigham, is running the county "on behalf of the president, who is talking to him."

The county is a $3 billion enterprise.

Chicago Alderman William Beavers, who visited Stroger on Tuesday, said Stroger would make a decision about his political future when he's ready.

"He's got a right to do whatever he wants to do," Beavers said.

Beavers said Stroger is clear that he is still county board president.

"There's no vacancy," Beavers said.

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