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Steele makes it official
Cook County Board president resigns

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman Staff writer

Bobbie Steele resigned Tuesday from the Cook County Board, six days before she'd have to step down as president.
Her resignation is effective Thursday, according to a letter submitted to the county clerk's office.
By waiting until after the election but before her next term begins, Steele will be able to ask Democratic Party bosses to install her son, Robert, to her seat and also double her pension.
Steele declined to comment Tuesday but has scheduled a news conference for today after a special board meeting to discuss unrelated business. Her brief letter offers no reason for the resignation.
Steele (D-Chicago) won re-election as a commissioner this month but must step down as board president to make way for the newly elected president, Todd Stroger.
She was appointed to the presidency in July to finish out the term of John Stroger, who did not return to the office after suffering a major stroke in March.
Democratic committeemen in Steele's county board district will choose her replacement, and Steele said last week she has asked them to choose her son.
"I'm supporting her efforts to put Robert Steele in," said Chicago alderman and committeeman Michael Chandler (24th), whose name was mentioned as a possible rival and who has the greatest weighted vote in choosing Steele's successor. "I don't think there's any other candidates. I think (Robert Steele) is a nice young man, and he'll do a good job."
Steele was paid $170,000 as president, double the $85,000 she earned as a commissioner.
Because she's entitled to an annual pension worth 80 percent of her salary at termination, her annual pension will be double what it would've been had she retired as a commissioner.
The move has sparked criticism, but Steele has pointed out that she's doing nothing illegal.
Her resignation caps a 20-year career that saw her elected as a reformer, become part of the county board establishment and do her best to reestablish her reform credentials in her short stint as president.


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