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Future presidents won't be listed on signs

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter

A time-honored political perk is about to disappear from the Cook County Forest Preserves.
John Stroger's name will be removed from every forest preserve sign beginning next month, and no future county board president's name will appear on a sign again.
The county board unanimously approved that move Tuesday -- just 16 months after Stroger vowed to veto any move to approve forest preserve signs without his name on them.
Stroger has not been publicly seen nor heard from since suffering a March stroke, and in the wake of his announcement that he's resigning on July 31, county board members have become more bold.
"Without any disrespect to anybody," Commissioner Tony Peraica said, "I don't believe we should spend the funds to constantly update the names on any signage."
Idea mocked in 2005
Peraica, the Republican nominee for president, pushed an effort to remove names from signs in 2005, but the move failed when Stroger's allies mocked it as "ridiculous."
On Tuesday, however, they co-sponsored the measure put forth by Commissioner Peter Silvestri, which will take effect Aug. 1.
The district's chief landscape architect, Dave Kircher, told the board it will cost about $10,000 to install a plate over Stroger's name on new metal signs just installed.
It will cost significantly less to paint over names on older signs.
Just after impressive new district maps were handed out -- bearing Stroger's name -- President Pro Tempore Joseph Mario Moreno asked aloud about pamphlets and other district items that will have to be changed because of Stroger's resignation.
County government faces a similar and likely more expensive task in removing from all county paraphernalia Stroger's name and that of Michael Sheahan as sheriff this year.
No cost estimates have been offered thus far for either effort.
Also Tuesday, the forest preserve board voted to approve 3 1/2 percent raises for the district's non-union employees, bringing them in parity with union employees -- a move opposed by Silvestri and John Daley, who cited the precedent that could be set for the larger county government.


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