Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

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



A chance for the juvenile center

Friday, July 20, 2007
Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Negotiators appear to be close to a breakthrough in the prolonged struggle to bring order from chaos at Cook County's detention center for youth. If they can all agree, they will turn the place over to Earl Dunlap, a national leader in juvenile justice.

An imposing man with Kentucky roots, a Downstate home address and a down-home demeanor, Dunlap looks like an excellent choice to lead a turnaround. Representatives for Cook County and the American Civil Liberties Union were negotiating this week on how much authority Dunlap, if hired, would be granted.

If they settle on that, the ACLU would drop its motion to have the juvenile center placed in receivership by the federal court.
One key: convincing Cook County commissioners to give Dunlap enough authority and autonomy to fix the place. The County Board controls the budget and operations for the facility, which houses more than 400 youths.

Another key: Convincing commissioners they can't protect the political hacks they've forced on the payroll at the center.

Dunlap is executive director of the National Juvenile Detention Association. By all reports, he's an aggressive, no-nonsense, hands-on administrator. He has extraordinary experience, and he wouldn't be concerned about Cook County politics.

He's in great demand around the country. Most recently he's been in Washington, D.C., helping to reform a troubled, 80-bed youth detention center there.

"Earl is a really colorful character who has an incredible amount of knowledge about juvenile detention systems," said Vincent Schiraldi, director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in Washington. Schiraldi says Dunlap sleeps at the facility to get a sense of what goes on during the midnight shift ... and to save money on hotels.

Sounds promising. But there's one caveat. If Dunlap lacks the budget authority or flexibility to do his job effectively, then it will be a waste of everybody's time. It will be up to Cook County commissioners to ensure he has that authority.

The ACLU, which has documented chronic problems at the center, recently asked the federal court to wrest the place from the county and appoint a receiver. That would require a detailed, public airing of the filth, abuse and gross patronage practices at the center. County officials now appear willing to cede control in a quieter way, as long as Dunlap isn't called a "receiver." How much control he would have over purchasing, contracts and finances, however, is still the subject of intense negotiation.

ACLU officials believe Dunlap would need about a year to stabilize the center, maybe even a little more time. During that time, formal control would shift from the Cook County Board to Tim Evans, chief judge of the Circuit Court, under state legislation approved last spring.

This sounds like a promising solution to a dire situation. And it can get done, provided Cook County politicians finally feel an obligation to fix the disaster they helped to create.



Recent Headlines

Crain’s: Cook County Union Lauds Preckwinkle for New Contract
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Crabtree Nature Center to Host Art in Nature Celebration
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

Amid soda-tax war, Teamsters thank Preckwinkle for a good new deal
Monday, August 21, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Editorial: A chance for a do-over on Cook County's soda tax
Friday, August 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Bloomberg funds $2 million in ads backing Preckwinkle pop tax
Friday, August 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Reaction to the soda tax is overblown
Friday, August 18, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Drinking soda pop will one day be like smoking on an airplane
Friday, August 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County: Soda tax no longer runs afoul of food stamp rules
Friday, August 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Man shot near Cook County Jail, driven to courthouse for help
Friday, August 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Two more soda tax lawsuits filed as county says food-stamp issue fixed
Friday, August 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

SNEED: Bloomberg throws support behind embattled Cook County soda tax
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Evanston violated Open Meetings Act with June council session on minimum wage, attorney general says
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County retailers report beverage sales decline
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle taps new CFO for Cook County
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Man charged with dumping loaded gun into trash can at Cook County Jail
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County: Soda tax no longer runs afoul of food stamp rules
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Poll shows trouble for Preckwinkle amid pop tax furor
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Why the soda pop tax is essential: Preckwinkle
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County seeks partners for economic development projects
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail Expands Family Planning, Birth Control Services
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

all news items

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