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Out of work -- not for long
COUNTY | Commissioner's sister, ousted from juvie center, turns up at health agency

Sunday, November 25, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE WARMBIR

When the sister of Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno lost her high-ranking job at the troubled Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, she didn't have long to wait for a new gig.
Within a few weeks, she got another county job -- at the same salary.
Maria Moreno Szafarczyk will be managing the system in the county health bureau that handles children referred to county hospitals by outside agencies for specialty pediatric care.
She is making about $88,000 a year, same as she did at her old county job.
A county spokesperson cited her fluency in Spanish and her role as a strong advocate for children as two key factors that got her the new job.
County officials were unaware of any health care experience in Szafarczyk's background but argued she didn't need any in her managerial role. She is a former longtime administrator at Richard J. Daley College.
Stroger's choice
Szafarczyk's new job comes as Cook County Board President Todd Stroger battles for approval of his county budget. Joseph Mario Moreno is expected to vote to approve Stroger's budget.
Neither Moreno nor his sister returned phone messages Friday requesting comment.
Moreno acknowledged in a Chicago Sun-Times interview in 2005 that he handed then-Cook County Board President John Stroger his sister's resume before she was hired for a top post at the juvenile detention center. But Moreno denied that the job had anything to do with patronage.
Szafarczyk's good fortune with the county made headlines in April when she survived budget cuts at the juvenile detention center -- despite having no background in juvenile justice --while a colleague, who is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile justice issues, got ousted.
Her post was later eliminated when the newly hired administrator at the juvenile detention center determined her job could be handled by another county department.
Szafarczyk started her new job Nov. 13, a position that had been vacant since March. It's a job that Todd Stroger by law can fill at will, spokeswoman Ibis Antongiorgi said.


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