Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

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



Cook County's health services chief submits resignation

Thursday, March 06, 2008
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Dr. Robert Simon, the oft-criticized interim chief of the troubled Cook County public health system, said Wednesday that he has submitted his resignation after he achieved his goals of maintaining basic services and helping fix the system's budget woes.

Simon, who took the job 14 months ago, often sat on the political hot seat after his appointment by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, whose late father, former board President John Stroger, was Simon's patient.

Simon, who was previously the county's head of emergency medicine, took the brunt of criticism for the implementation of $85 million in budget cuts that slashed the Bureau of Health Services' clinic system, dramatically slowed some routine care and demoralized public health-care workers. Simon said the process of making layoffs was "hell," but added that he accomplished his two main goals.


The first was making budget cuts while maintaining essential services and not closing any of the county's three hospitals. The second was seeing through this year's budget process, which resulted in a $122 million boost in health-care spending, to $870 million, and the hiring of hundreds of new employees.

"Now it's time for them to move on and find a permanent person -- no sour grapes or anything," he said. "I came into this job saying I didn't want to be a permanent chief."

But Simon also expressed "frustration with the County Board process, with the process of contracts and procurement."

Simon said he submitted his resignation, effective March 30, to Stroger on Tuesday -- four days after an 11th-hour budget compromise that boosted sales taxes and also started a process to place the health bureau under the administration of an independent board for three years.

Stroger plans to discuss the resignation with commissioners and might ask Simon to stay on during a transition period, said Sean Howard, spokesman for the bureau.

Simon said he was not sure how he would respond if asked to stay on during a transition.

"I would consider it; I'm not sure I would," he said. "I'm just tired. I'm physically exhausted. It's been 14 months of 80-hour weeks, away from family."

Simon also said he never planned to stay on permanently and long has advocated independent governance -- though he reiterated a warning contained in his resignation letter.

"History, as well as recent experiences in other public health systems, has taught us that independent governance is not a panacea," he wrote.

Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who drafted the independent-governance ordinance and cast the decisive vote for the tax increase, has been critical of Simon and said he was pleased by his resignation.

"I think he understood it was time to go, and I think it is a good day for the system," Suffredin said. "He's a really good emergency-room director. But he's never understood the complexities of administering a large health system like this one."

Other critics complained that Simon's management style was brusque at best and unkind at worst.

"Many wonderful people left the bureau because of him," said Dr. Quentin Young, who headed an early committee appointed by Stroger soon after his election to examine the future of the health bureau.

Other doctors offered praise.

"Dr. Simon walked in as interim bureau chief, and he was directed to cut $100 million from the budget in six weeks," said Dr. Avery Hart, chief of general medicine and primary care at Stroger Hospital, the bureau's largest institution.

"He promised us that he would restore funding so we could rebuild services, and he accomplished it against long odds," Hart said.



Recent Headlines

State to implement additional mitigation measures in suburban Cook County
Monday, October 26, 2020
Cook County Department of Public Health

State Public Health Officials Announce COVID-19 Resurgence Mitigations to Take Effect in Regions 4 and 10 on October 28, 2020
Monday, October 26, 2020
Illinois Dept. of Public Health

NU will not host polling locations this Election Day
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Daily Northwestern

11 more chief judge’s employees, 3 more juvenile detention residents test positive for COVID-19
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: State reports 4,062 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 24 additional deaths Sunday
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Chicago Tribune

COVID-19 in Illinois: 4,062 New Cases, 24 Additional Deaths
Sunday, October 25, 2020
WTTW News

Cook County opens voucher waiting list for first time in 20 years
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Chicago Crusader

Land of tears: ‘Desperate’ Illinois health care workers ‘seeing history repeat itself’
Friday, October 23, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Court orders Dorothy Brown to halt planned updates to ‘problematic’ new case management system
Friday, October 23, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Oct. 23 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Friday, October 23, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Half of Illinois’ Counties Now at Warning Level for COVID-19
Friday, October 23, 2020
WTTW News

Budget-making this year is all kinds of ugly
Friday, October 23, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

How cannabis is easing budget pain at city and county
Friday, October 23, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

New York hospital executive officially appointed as next Cook County Health leader, vows to be ‘fiscally, financially resilient’
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Meet the CEO who'll run Cook County Health
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Here’s Why Suburban Cook County Lags In Processing Vote-By-Mail Ballots
Thursday, October 22, 2020
WBEZ News

Meet the New Yorker Tasked With Rescuing Cook County’s Public Health System
Thursday, October 22, 2020
WBEZ News

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposes raising Forest Preserves budget next year with rainy day funds
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Mailing it in? Sluggish processing of suburban Cook County ballots making it more like vote-by-snail
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Delays leave suburban Cook voters wondering if their ballots will count
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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