Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.
   
     
     
     



Ex-judge: Rein in Stroger's political appointees

Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

So, just what exactly is it that 500 political employees hired by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger do all day?

For two years, a court-appointed watchdog has been asking Stroger that question. For two years, she has not gotten an answer.

Cook County Compliance Administrator Julia Nowicki, a former Cook County judge herself, made public Tuesday in a resignation letter that, as part of her quest to root out patronage abuses, she asked Stroger's administration to provide a job description for each of the 500 so-called "Shakman exempt" political employees Stroger can hire.

"The (compliance administrator) expected this work to be completed two years ago. The delay in this regard is unfathomable," Nowicki told commissioners in the letter.

Laura Lechowicz Felicione, special counsel to Stroger, acknowledged in a letter to Nowicki that the process "has taken longer than expected," but said in an interview Tuesday the process is in the "final stages." And, she noted, with the splitting off of the county health bureau, the number of exempt positions under Stroger's control has shrunk from 500 to about 370.

Felicione noted that she provided Nowicki with a 12-page letter outlining several steps the county has taken to curb patronage in accordance with a court order known as the "Shakman decree." They include hiring a new Human Resources head, Joseph Sova, after a nationwide search, creating a new hiring process and Stroger passing both an executive order and an ordinance to ban patronage hiring.

All true, noted Nowicki in her letter, but not good enough. Stroger initially fought hiring an outside HR director, Nowicki wrote.

"This type of conduct sends a message that the Office of the president will only go down the path mandated by the (court order) unwillingly and at a slow pace," Nowicki said.

And as for the ordinance and executive order, "I have not observed ... any perception ... that the president is interested in proactive implementation of the two enactments," Nowicki wrote.

Nowicki also strongly suggested that, while Stroger indeed does have the legal right to hire 500 patronage employees, if those employees aren't qualified or don't do the work of those positions, they can still result in Shakman decree violations as Shakman-exempt employees have to do their own work plus their boss's work. In fact, several county employees were recently awarded cash settlements for such scenarios.

The abuses are so bad, Nowicki suggested, the board should institute its own oversight over those positions.

"You should insist on stringent minimum qualifications for these important and highly coveted jobs," Nowicki wrote. "The Board could create an oversight committee to review the credentials of the exempt employees. Further, this committee could review their work performance."

Felicione countered that exempt employees are, in fact, supervised by either the president or various department heads and are disciplined when deserved.

Nowicki told the Daily Herald that, as compliance administrator, she was limited strictly to Shakman decree-related matters, but felt with her departure she was free to elaborate on other matters.

While the compliance administrator is limited in its powers, she noted, the board is not, and she wanted to convey that.

For instance, while the president has prepared a new hiring plan which lays out how hires will take place in compliance with Shakman, it doesn't necessarily get to the spirit of reform now being clamored for statewide.

"It's just a hiring plan, not an overall 'how do we make this a better world' plan," Nowicki noted.

Her letter to commissioners was designed to emphasize "I think someone needs to put some pressure on the president's office to be just a little bit more proactive," she said.



Recent Headlines

Unemployment rate unexpectedly falls
Friday, June 05, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

$140M renovation to transform old Cook County Hospital into hotel, office complex nearly complete
Friday, June 05, 2020
WLS ABC 7 Eyewitness News

How badly will COVID, looting hurt CPS finances?
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Jail releases could be spreading COVID-19 in community, study suggests
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Daily COVID-19 cases dip under 1,000, but officials warn it could take 2 weeks to see if protests prompt uptick (LIVE UPDATES)
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County state’s attorney’s office says it will review allegations that Chicago cops pulled woman from car by her hair and placed knee on her neck
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Report: 1 in 6 Chicago COVID-19 Cases Can Be Tied to Cook County Jail
Thursday, June 04, 2020
WTTW News

Cook County campsites, dog parks among amenities reopening
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Daily Herald

Rapper Vic Mensa: ‘The real looting is the looting of the body of George Floyd’ and other African Americans killed by police
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

‘We’re Here To Pray For Peace’: Faith Organizations March In Bronzeville To Protest George Floyd Killing
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
WBEZ News

The Spin: Politicians pivot to police reform | For Lightfoot, Preckwinkle and others, George Floyd death a painful reminder of racism in their lives | Chicago begins reopening
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

‘COVID-19 Adjustment’ may lessen Cook County property taxes in light of pandemic
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
JD Supra

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

More positive results for antiviral drug remdesivir in battle against COVID-19
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Live Updates: Looting Causes Food Shortages; Security Firms See Spike In Demand
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
WBEZ

So many were killed by gunfire in Chicago Sunday, the medical examiner brought in extra pathologists for the autopsies
Wednesday, June 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Social distancing measures remain in place at county jail
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Protests and peace: Pritzker, Preckwinkle, Cupich call for ‘peaceful action’ to stem ‘contagion’ of racism
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

With Dozens Being Shot Every Day, Anti-Violence Groups Continue Working Amid Looting And COVID-19
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
WBEZ News

Judge tells Cicero no more surprise visits at nursing home where more than a dozen died from coronavirus
Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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