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.
   
     
     
     



Forest Preserve adds patronage hires

Monday, October 04, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON

Over the last 22 months, hundreds of workers who cleaned Cook County forest preserves were laid off because of budget cuts and management restructuring.

So when the Cook County Forest Preserve District eliminated its multimillion-dollar debt last month and announced it would begin filling vacant positions, some expected the priority would be on maintenance -- especially given the shabby appearance of some groves and woods.

Instead, the agency has been quick to make political patronage hires in higher-paying management positions, records show. There have been no recent hires in the maintenance arena, the records indicate.

Sam Simone, who runs the Palos Township Regular Democratic Organization, started last week as a $68,820-a-year assistant to district Supt. Steve Bylina. He'll work with 38th Ward Democratic Committeeman P.J. Cullerton, a $90,000-a-year assistant to Bylina.

Two weeks ago, Jimmie Barreto was promoted to assistant division superintendent, making $40,297 a year. A 17-year district employee, he's also a 26th Ward Democratic precinct captain, loyal to county Commissioner Roberto Maldonado.

Politically driven hiring



It's that politically driven hiring process that has led the district into financial turmoil, critics say, taking aim at Cook County Board President John Stroger, who has the most power over district decisions.

"This administration will go to any lengths to protect and expand their political class at the Forest Preserve District," said county Commissioner Forrest Claypool. "They will cut maintenance workers who clean and protect the preserves and raise property taxes to protect their bloated bureaucracy."

But district officials say they have cut the fat out of their budget. "We had one of our best operational years with our current staffing levels," Forest Preserve spokesman Steve Mayberry said. "It's a real testament to what we've done."

Teamsters Local 726, which represents maintenance workers, sees things differently, saying more focus should be on laborers, a shrinking group that has been without a contract since December 2002.

"We're extremely concerned about the size of the work force because we don't really know how the work can possibly get done," said Local 726 attorney Jim Green.

Records show the district spent $25.6 million on recreation and general maintenance in 2001. Last year, it spent $13.3 million.

While the district eliminated laborers from its budget, some mid-level managers now being hired will do more field work, Mayberry said.

 


Recent Headlines

COMMENTARY: Fritz Kaegi: Benefits of property tax assessment reform are showing in Cook County
Friday, November 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County forest preserve picnic, camping permits for 2020 season to go on sale Nov. 15
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago’s public defender plans to ask Illinois Supreme Court to reverse decision that permits holding preteens in custody despite county ordinance
Monday, November 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Yarbrough touts ‘method to her madness,’ says hiring criticism ‘is purely personal’
Saturday, November 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Nonprofit hospitals forced to defend hundreds of millions in property tax breaks
Friday, November 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Land Bank must serve neighborhoods, not City Hall insiders
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

After judge’s dismissal, Skokie appeals federal lawsuit over Evanston water rates
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 teens in DCFS care were shackled and handcuffed during drive from a youth shelter: ‘Totally unacceptable,’ agency says
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The lifelong damage we do in Cook County when we jail kids as young as 10
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Unfair assessments lawsuit dismissed after assessor makes changes — full reform called a ‘years-long process’
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Watch out, Cook County land bank. The public could foreclose — on you.
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Niles raises property tax about $21 per average household
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Pioneer Press

Nov. 15 is Opening Day for Forest Preserves of Cook County Picnic and Special Event Permit Sales, 2020 Camping Reservations
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

$8M grant program aims to expand Cook County animal shelter space
Tuesday, November 05, 2019
ABC EyeWitness News

Even as Illinois court permits detaining pre-teens, across U.S. fewer youth being held
Monday, November 04, 2019
Injustice Watch

Cook County OK’d insider deal for Ald. Carrie Austin’s top aide
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A progressive measure intended to keep preteens out of Cook County jails was effectively struck down by an appellate court
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health CEO Calls on Other Hospitals to Increase Charity Care
Friday, November 01, 2019
WTTW News

Labrador retriever sworn in at Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Yes, really.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff wants chief judge to take over electronic monitoring of suspects, citing the records of those released
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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