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Stroger hires best friend's wife
She will earn more than $126,000 in county job

Friday, January 05, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has hired his best friend's wife for a lucrative top county job.
Carmen Triche-Colvin is making more than $126,000 a year as the purchasing agent, a job that's been vacant for months.
Triche-Colvin is the wife of state Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-Chicago), who grew up with Stroger in the South Side's 8th Ward.
Triche-Colvin moves into the job from the Forest Preserve District, where she was also purchasing agent, making $95,000 a year.
Stroger spokesman Steve Mayberry called Triche-Colvin "eminently qualified" and said it wasn't politics, but rather a resume that includes business and finance degrees, and 15 years of county government work, that made her qualified for the job.
"Anyone who tries to characterize it as a political inside deal couldn't be more off-base," Rep. Colvin said. "I didn't even have to lobby Todd about it."
Cutting 17 percent
Still, the move rankled some of those officials who are being asked to cut 17 percent from their budgets and comes just days after Commissioner Forrest Claypool criticized Stroger for his across-the-board approach to cuts, saying it hurts low-paid nurses and jail guards while preserving high-paid patronage jobs.
Stroger's 17 percent cutting plan is his way to fill a $500 million budget deficit.
That plan was the subject of a quiet Thursday morning meeting that involved nearly all of the county's elected officials. Afterward, those involved declined to say what was said, if there's a joint strategy emerging or why Stroger wasn't invited to attend.
Mayberry said Stroger was aware of the meeting, and "it's our hope it had something to do with them having met the 17 percent cut."
In fact, just hours after that meeting, Recorder Gene Moore surprised his colleagues by holding an impromptu press conference to say he's cutting 17 percent from his $15 million budget.
Moore said he'll eliminate vacant positions and lay off 14 supervisors, while hoping to sell ad space on his Web site and increase document fees. But he also said a bulk of it will come by asking employees to take 10 unpaid days off -- something he said he's not negotiated with unions.

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