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Beavers, county commissioners already at odds

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON AND FRAN SPIELMAN

Ald. William Beavers isn't exactly endearing himself to members of the Cook County Board he plans to join in six months.
The 7th Ward alderman says he wants the 4th District commissioner's job so he can do "less work."
Dealing with the county's budget crisis, he says, will be "much easier" than what he's handled as city budget chairman and he isn't worried about the county's 2007 budget because he expects it to be passed before he gets there in January -- even though that timetable hasn't happened in two years.
He needs to be on the board, he says, because John Stroger "didn't have the leadership" from his board allies to help stop some of the vicious debates he's endured.
Should Ald. Todd Stroger (8th) win the right to replace his father, who suffered a stroke in March, Beavers says he'll serve as a barrier and "ward off" the attacks.
"If Ald. Beavers thinks he's going to come over here and stifle debate and stop commissioners from speaking out, he's got another think coming," said Commissioner Forrest Claypool. "Things may work that way at the City Council, but that's not the way things work at the County Board."
Beavers did not return calls to respond to Claypool's criticism, but other commissioners were quietly grumbling about the remarks in Tuesday's Chicago Sun-Times.
Claypool said the County Board's streak of independence is "not going to change just because Bill Beavers decides he's going to take on the County Board."
Todd Stroger has not returned repeated calls and Beavers is serving as the self-designated spokesman for the Stroger family.
Asked Monday if Todd Stroger will support tax hikes to balance the county budget, Beavers said "the budget will be done before Todd gets there," though "if they keep crying about the budget crisis, the interim (president) will have to wear that jacket."
But Commissioner John Daley said Todd Stroger will "have to take a position on the issues" before the November election.
"I'm sure people would want the input of both candidates," he said.


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