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Cook County Clerk of Court's Office says Commissioners to Blame for $2 Million Gaffe

Monday, July 13, 2009
Chicago Public Radio
by Rob Wildeboer

The office of the Cook County Clerk of Court says County Commissioners are responsible for $2 million that has slipped through the cracks. 

Over the last few years the county board has added new court fees to fund drug, mental health, and youth court services. During the past year, the fees have raised about $2 million but it wasn't put into funds for those special projects. Instead, the money was distributed among the state, the county and municipalities. Wasiu Fashina is the Chief Financial Officer for the clerk of court's office. He says their hands were tied.

FASHINA: We do not have any flexibility. Everything that we do, including the collection and distribution, is governed by statute.

Fashina says before implementing the new fees, the county board should have asked state legislators to change the law to explicitly allow the clerk to distribute the fees in that way. Commissioner Larry Suffredin pushed for the funding and he says he consulted the State's Attorney beforehand and he says the clerk should have told him if there was a problem.


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