Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Devine lobbies County Board for pay raises

Thursday, November 02, 2006
Chicago Law Bulletin
by Pat Milhizer

Cook County State's Attorney Richard A. Devine called on the County Board Thursday to pay his attorneys more to ensure that his payroll is up to par with salaries in the public defender's office.
Devine asked the County Board to put an extra $3 million in his office's budget to try to equalize salaries between the two sets of government lawyers. In addition, Devine wants prosecutors to receive annual cost-of-living increases.
Unlike assistant public defenders, assistant state's attorneys lack union representation and aren't granted automatic raises each year. Instead, prosecutors get pay hikes only upon promotion.
''Assistant state's attorneys are being told that other government attorneys, working the same courtrooms as you, are going to make more. This has resulted in many of our assistants questioning whether there is fair treatment and recognition of what they do. It is starting to become a significant morale issue in our office,'' said Devine, who indicated in his presentation that he respects the work of the public defender's office.
Devine's request will be considered in upcoming county budget hearings. In the meantime, he plans to meet with commissioners and to solicit support for his cause from local bar associations.
On average, Devine said, a prosecutor earns $9,100 less than a public defender.
In August, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin examined payrolls for both offices and found that of the 529 assistant public defenders, about 63 percent earned more than $70,000 a year. That percentage dwarfed the 37 percent of the 941 assistant state's attorneys earning more than $70,000 at that time.
The median salary for lawyers in the public defender's office was $77,611, compared to $62,926 in the state's attorney's office. The numbers were obtained from the office of the County Board president.
One of the consequences of the lower pay, Devine has said, is that his office can't retain attorneys after their fifth or sixth year.
The data obtained in August illustrate the differences in longevity in the two offices. About 35 percent of assistant public defenders were hired in the 1970s or 1980s, compared to less than 23 percent of prosecutors. The state's attorney's office hired more than three-quarters of its lawyers in the 1990s, while just about two-thirds of assistant public defenders were hired in that time period.
On Thursday, Devine told commissioners that prosecutors have larger case loads than public defenders and work extra hours that they're not compensated for.
''We need good, bright, dedicated people to come to our office,'' Devine said. ''Many come to us with $100,000 in debt from their law school education. Many find that, after a couple of years, it's too overwhelming.''
Devine said his office has accepted that it will lose attorneys to private practice, but the county will face a new problem if commissioners don't address the pay issue soon.
''A failure to act today means that we will lose some of the best people we have. And that will mean that our criminal justice system will suffer. And that will mean that the victims and their families will not get the services they deserve, the community will not have the protection for public safety it deserves, and even defendants who rely on prosecutors to present cases fairly and professionally will be shortchanged,'' Devine said.
Commissioners didn't discuss Devine's proposal, and County Board President Bobbie Steele said it will be addressed during budget hearings. Devine said he doesn't believe a first draft of the county budget will be presented before Dec. 1, and his office already submitted a budget request to the president that included the pay raise.
''The board members I have spoken to so far recognize the issue and are supportive of parity,'' Devine said outside the board chambers after his address. ''I can't commit for them how they will deal with that in the context of the budget issue…. I think this is such a fundamental, basic issue that should be dealt with first, and say 'We have to do this. And then we deal with these other issues of shortfall, etc.' ''
Devine didn't suggest a revenue source to pay for the plan. He also said he hasn't calculated an estimate for annual cost-of-living adjustments.
''There's $3 million in that budget that can be found, and I'm strongly encouraging them to do that,'' Devine said.
Asked by a reporter how morale in his office has been affected by the pay gap, Devine replied:
''People are disturbed. I don't see any evidence or any sense that people are not doing their job as fully and aggressively and with the same commitment as before, but they're upset.
''You go around to the different courthouses, and they look at it and say, 'We've always understood we'll make less than the people in private practice, but how can we be making less than the public defender working in the same courtroom we are?' And that affects them, but it hasn't affected their work.''



Recent Headlines

Cannabis, gambling taxes to boost county amid long-term budget woes
Thursday, July 02, 2020
The Daily Line

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Chicago Tribune

'Going To Do The Best We Can': Cook County Adjusts Outreach Strategy For US Census Due To COVID-19
Thursday, July 02, 2020
WBBM Radio

Why local school districts are lining up against Fritz Kaegi
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

How COVID-19 threatens health care in Cook County
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County’s new website shows nearly half of census funds spent on advertising, marketing
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves of Cook County opens more in Phase 4
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Daily Herald

Dart, other county sheriffs demand state prisons start accepting inmates again
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

A COVID-19 surge in your county? New Illinois website offers ways to check.
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois raise minimum wage Wednesday
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
The Daily Line

Illinois ends June with about half the daily COVID-19 deaths and new cases as in peak month of May
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx confirms office will err on side of dismissing cases related to protests, curfew
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx plans to drop charges against those violating curfew, Fox 32 news reports
Monday, June 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois minimum wage increases take effect July 1
Monday, June 29, 2020
ABC 7 Eyewitness News

Home property taxes still rising despite bigger hike on business
Monday, June 29, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Illinois announces 15 additional coronavirus deaths, lowest one-day total since March
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Former county health chief: Racism common factor in deaths in ’95 Chicago heat wave, COVID-19
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

‘And She Could Be Next’ profiles grassroots political heroines of the moment
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Amazon to open two new fulfillment centers in south suburbs
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Chicago Crusader

Cook County courts reopening July 6
Friday, June 26, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP