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Stroger allies thwart hearing
Alternate proposals sent to deal with absence

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

Once again, allies of John Stroger beat back an attempt by his Republican challenger to hold a hearing on whether the Cook County Board president is fit to serve.
They also sent to committee two alternate proposals to deal with Stroger’s extended absence since his March stroke and with the lack of information about his health, citing the fact that Stroger’s family had promised he would announce in July if he’s coming back to office.
But there was a marked difference in the number of commissioners — including powerful Finance Committee Chairman John Daley — who intimated that the family should wait no longer than July.
“I would urge by July that the Stroger family come up with an answer,” said Daley, who voted against the fitness hearing proposal pushed by Commissioner Anthony Peraica, a Riverside Republican.
Peraica’s proposal was similarly bashed by Chicago Democrat Roberto Maldonado, but he added a caveat.
“If I don’t hear from the family by July, then I am going to feel that I am being played with by the Stroger family,” Maldonado said.
Sent to committee were proposals by Commissioners Larry Suffredin, an Evanston Democrat, and Gregg Goslin, a Glenview Republican, that would have set up a means whereby Stroger could announce he was temporarily incapacitated and allow one of the commissioners to be elected acting president in his absence. Stroger would still be paid while away from his official duties under that proposal.
Another proposal, by Democrat Earlean Collins of Chicago, would have given President Pro Tempore Joseph Mario Moreno the power to act in Stroger’s absence. Now, Moreno only can run board meetings in Stroger’s absence, not make administrative decisions. That proposal, too, was sent to committee.
The various proposals came as Stroger’s son, Todd Stroger, told the Sun-Times that his father is no longer in the hospital. Todd Stroger could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. President Stroger was admitted to the hospital June 8, apparently for an infection.
However, even if Stroger’s family doesn’t make an announcement by July, it appears unlikely that either of those proposals would bear fruit. Moreno told the board that, as president pro tempore, he would veto any measures he didn’t feel were in Stroger’s interests.
With a four-fifths vote necessary to override Moreno’s veto, and 16 commissioners left, that means Moreno would need just two other commissioners to vote with him to defeat any override.

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