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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Outrageous pension system exposed again

Sunday, December 03, 2006
Daily Herald

Even by Cook County standards, Bobbie Steele’s double play is astonishingly brazen.

Steele, a Cook County commissioner for 20 years, was appointed by colleagues in July to fill in as county board president. This decision came after then-board President John H. Stroger’s family finally got around to divulging that the stroke he had suffered three months earlier would prevent him from completing his term.

At the time, Steele said she would not seek the board presidency in the November election but would stand for re-election to her commissioner’s seat. Steele did nothing to particularly distinguish herself during her four-month stint as president, but she did not commit any significant blunders or offenses either. So far, so good.

Fast forward now to this past week. Steele, having won re-election to the board on Nov. 7, announced that she’d had a change of heart — she won’t be serving her new term after all. She’ll retire. If this were the end of the story, Steele’s announcement might merit a minor rebuke for telling constituents she would be serving them again only to inform them right after they voted for her that she wouldn’t be representing them.

But the story gets worse. Why is Steele retiring instead of serving a sixth term as a commissioner? Because — thanks to Illinois‘ asinine pension laws — retiring from the position of board president enables her to draw a far larger pension. Steele was paid $85,000 a year as a commissioner, and had she returned to that job she eventually would have retired to a pension based on that salary. But her annual pay rate as board president, had she served a full year, would have been $170,000. By retiring while she still held the president’s gavel, she boosted her annual pension to $136,000 — never mind that she kept the board president’s chair warm for only four short months. Taxpayers will support Steele to the tune of $51,000 more in her retirement than she ever drew for a full year of work. She also draws a $13,000 annual pension as a retired teacher.

Steele’s blatant exploitation of the system is offensive enough, but the greater affront is the utter irresponsibility of state lawmakers who refuse to alter a system that allows public employees and elected officials to rip off taxpayers in this way.

But that’s not all. Steele has decided that the best person to fill the commissioner spot she has left vacant is her son. This is the story of John and Todd Stroger — passing down a public office as if it were a family heirloom — all over again. And Steele will get away with this, too, because she has the votes among her Democratic ward committeemen to do it.

Bobbie Steele retires with a $136,000 pension after acting as county board president for four months. Former Gov. George Ryan would have drawn a $197,000 annual pension had his conviction not nullified it. This is outrageous. It’s past time for all Illinois residents to e-mail and call their state legislators and insist — insist — that public pensions be made reasonable and sustainable, and that expensive loopholes be closed up tight.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Jail’s book limit ruled as proper
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Chicago Daily law Bulletin

Prisoner escapes from Chicago police custody en route to Cook County Jail
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

County clerk’s office needs federal oversight
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

City Club of Chicago: Toni Preckwinkle – Advancing Racial Equity in Cook County
Monday, September 16, 2019
WGN Radio

Choosing Cook County judges, Justice Ginsburg reminds us, should not be a popularity contest
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx interested, wary of working with Trump White House on criminal justice reform
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Is Clerk Karen Yarbrough ‘best official’ in county — or is patronage hiring flap only ‘tip of the iceberg’?
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A secret vote will choose Cook County’s next judicial chief. A $270 million budget, thousands of employees, and the future of a huge court system are at stake.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Evans Faces Challenge Thursday For Position As Cook County Chief Judge
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Cook County Health's John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Receives $5M Federal Grant to Support Cancer Research
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County Forest Preserves Might Pitch Property Tax Hike To Voters
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Column: Ethically, Todd Ricketts owes Cook County six more years of property taxes on his Wilmette house. He should pay up.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Watchdog accuses County Clerk Karen Yarbrough of running ‘illegal patronage’ operation, wants court oversight
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Prosecutors Decline To File Charges In About 1 In Every 5 Murder Cases
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Maps Story of Opioid Epidemic with New Website
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ News

Slow refund checks for Water Tower residents—including the county treasurer—lead to proposed fee
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Criminal history vs. compassion? County debate over role of rap sheets in rental decisions
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County’s new law barring landlords from turning away tenants with certain criminal backgrounds faces controversy
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Upholding Cook County’s assault weapons ban
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Hospital rehab awarded $3 million in state tax credits
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Curbed Chicago

all news items

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