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Stroger's health board picks praised
COOK COUNTY | Nine nominees called 'excellent first step'

Saturday, May 03, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is set to hand control of the county's struggling health system to a panel of nine health care and industry executives he says "reflects the cultural, gender and racial diversity" of the county.

And Stroger's choices are largely drawing praise.

Daniel Cantrell, staffer to U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.); David Carvalho, of the Illinois Public Health Department; Jorge Ramirez, of the Chicago Federation of Labor, and Heather O'Donnell, of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, are on the list. Also named are Norman Bobins, chairman emeritus of LaSalle Bank; Andrea Zopp, of Exelon Corp.; Barbara Hillman, an attorney; Quin Golden, formerly of the Illinois Public Health Department, and Benn Greenspan of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Those nine will now be forwarded to the full County Board, which must approve the appointments. If confirmed, they would take control of policy and spending decisions for a system that has struggled under the weight of politics for decades.

Some commissioners expressed concern about a failed health clinic Cantrell ran in the 1980s and back taxes owed on it, but the list largely won over skeptical observers.

"This is more than half a loaf," said Dr. Quentin Young, adding it's "an excellent first step" toward what "could be a turning point for our community."

Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who pushed for independent control of the hospital system as part of the 2008 budget negotiations, said he has "an open mind" on the candidates.



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