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Hearing on public defender's job postponed

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON

A Tuesday hearing to decide the fate of Cook County Public Defender Ed Burnette has been postponed for a second time.

County Board President Todd Stroger has been angling to fire Burnette since early this year in the wake of what he said were repeated instances in which Burnette was derelict in his duty.

But attorneys for both sides said Monday the hearing is postponed.

Burnette is five years into a six-year term and serves at the will of the president. He was appointed by Stroger's father, former County Board President John Stroger.

Todd Stroger cited several instances of problems in the office under Burnette's watch, but among the embarrassments to Stroger was a lawsuit filed by Burnette last year fighting Stroger's requirement that Burnette and his staff take unpaid furlough days.

Burnette has publicly rebuked Stroger's policies and Stroger's willingness to dump unqualified patronage employees on Burnette's payroll or use public defender staff as Stroger sees fit.



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