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Juvenile center chief still on job despite vow

Friday, January 12, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON

Months after Cook County Board President Todd Stroger made a campaign pledge to fire the director of the troubled Juvenile Detention Center, that director still is on the job.
Thursday, a Stroger spokesman said J.W. Fairman will continue running things at the center, as it likely makes a transition from Stroger's control to the county's chief judge.
The Chicago Bar Association is recommending that transfer of authority, something Stroger said he supports.
The center, long a patronage dumping ground for former board President John Stroger, has endured thrashings over the lack of qualified workers, layers of bureaucracy and mistreatment of children there.
The CBA report, released Thursday, lays no blame for those conditions but says the center needs to be in the hands of those more familiar with juvenile justice issues.
Fairman, who is close to the Stroger family, has no such background but instead has worked in adult corrections.
A Stroger spokesman predicts Fairman will continue to run the center through July, to allow continuity in leadership during a transition in control that must be approved by the Legislature.
It was during an editorial board appearance with the Chicago Sun-Times that Todd Stroger vowed to swiftly fire Fairman and hospital chief Dr. Daniel Winship, as they presided over scandal-plagued county operations.
Winship resigned before Stroger took office, while Fairman continues to make $124,372 a year.
Transferring the center's control from the board president to the chief judge is one of several recommendations by the CBA. Others include spreading juvenile center programs across the county and separating those with minor offenses from others.
Chief Judge Tim Evans said he'd welcome the chance to fold the center into existing judicial programs, provided legislators approve the move.


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