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Stroger set to step down next month
Announcement expected tomorrow

Thursday, June 29, 2006
Crain's Chicago Business

(Crain's) — Ailing Cook County Board President John H. Stroger Jr. — who this week decided to give up his race for a new term in favor of his son, Todd — now has decided to resign his office, effective at the end of July, sources close to the matter are reporting.
The announcement is to come in the form of a letter from Mr. Stroger that is to be read by his chief of staff, James Whigham, at a press conference tentatively set for Friday afternoon. The letter reportedly will cite Mr. Stroger’s lengthy recovery from a severe stroke he suffered days before the March Democratic primary.
Mr. Stroger’s official county spokesman confirmed that Mr. Whigham intends to meet with the press Friday afternoon “to talk to reporters about the president.”
“I can’t confirm” that Mr. Whigham will read a letter of resignation from Mr. Stroger, the spokeswoman added.

Mr. Stroger’s earlier decision to abandon his re-election race and throw his backing to Todd Stroger, a Chicago alderman, has caught some flak but is expected to be ratified soon by Democratic committeemen. But there has been more criticism about his prior plan to fulfill the remaining months of his term, a decision announced Wednesday by Ald. William Beavers (7th), a long-time ally and friend of Mr. Stroger’s.
Several county commissioners told reporters in recent days that if John Stroger was too ill to run for re-election, then he likely also was too ill to run county business day-to-day.
There was no immediate word on who might be named to fill the remainder of Mr. Stroger’s term. Under law, incumbent members of the board must choose a replacement from among themselves.
Among names prominently mentioned as possible interim presidents are Commissioners John Daley, chairman of the board’s finance committee, and Bobbie Steele.
One commissioner who has raised questions about who is running county government now praised the decision by Mr. Stroger.
"That probably makes all the sense in the world," said Lawrence Suffredin, a suburban Democrat. "If you're not able to be a candidate, it's illogical to believe you're healthy enough to run the show."
The decision will help Todd Stroger by relieving him of the task of having to explain what's going on when he hits the campaign trail, Mr. Suffredin said.



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