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Stroger’s chief of staff may leave county job

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

The days appear numbered for James Whigham.
Although the chief of staff to Cook County Board President John H. Stroger said he’s not planning to resign, he does acknowledge that his boss, Stroger, is resigning as of July 31 and his job is an at-will position.
“There’s not a letter of resignation typed up in my drawer,” he said, but he acknowledged that he’s from the school that believes when a new president comes in, you automatically offer your resignation.
Although it is not yet clear who will be in the position, a new interim president will take the reins Aug. 1. So far, the leading candidates are Commissioners Bobbie Steele and Carl Hansen. Both have at times clashed with the Stroger administration, which was largely shaped by Whigham, so his retention is unlikely.
It became even more unlikely in the past week when commissioners were notified they’ll be asked Wednesday to approve opening a line of credit up to $200 million because of possible budget shortfalls. That comes after last month’s board meeting when Whigham assured commissioners the budget problems would work themselves out.
Whigham also denied the county is currently having cash-flow problems, or that a contractor’s recent refusal to supply the jail with dish-washing detergent because he was owed $8,000 suggests such problems. He said the incident was simply an oversight.
“This bill might have gotten overlooked,” Whigham said. “I really don’t think that $8,000 is a cash-flow problem.”


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