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Report: Patronage alive, well in Cook

Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Daily Herald

Patronage continues to thrive in Cook County, according to a report issued Friday by a court-appointed watchdog.

On the same day Cook County passed a sales tax hike worth an estimated $450 million -- in part to pay for hundreds of new hires -- Cook County Circuit Judge Julia Nowicki released a report documenting more than 220 claims of illegal hiring.

The report covered a two-year period, from 2004 to early 2007.

"We just passed a massive sales tax increase … at a time paying for political jobs," Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley told ABC 7. Quigley opposed the tax increase.

In exchange for the deciding vote on the tax rate increase, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and other commissioners agreed to turn over control of the county's beleaguered bureau of health to an independent governance board.

The move was designed to cut down on patronage.

Stroger was not available for comment Tuesday.

His administration claims illegal hiring practices have long plagued the county, and Stroger has taken steps to eliminate them.



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