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.
   
     
     
     



'Some people will die'

Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Chicago Tribune
by Chicago Tribune editorial staff

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger wants to get re-elected so badly he's willing to scare his constituents out of their wits. Look what he had to say last week about spending cuts that will be forced by the half-a-penny rollback in the county portion of the sales tax.

"People will suffer needlessly because of these cuts in funding," he said after the County Board overrode his veto and made the repeal stick. "They will be more sick and more desperate than they are today. And some people will die needlessly for lack of access to the health care our system provides today."

Some people will die needlessly?

Maybe he was talking about ghosts on the payroll.

No, he was serious. So let's talk about this notion that reforming Cook County spending -- removing some $200 million a year in revenue starting in 2011 -- will put people at risk of harm.

Stroger is focusing on the health care system, so let's start there.

An independent board now runs the system. It is on track to cut about 950 positions by the end of 2010, which will save more than $60 million a year.

Does that mean people are going to die?

No. Last year the independent board calculated that if Cook County cut a third of its 7,500 health care workers it would still rank near the upper end of the staffing spectrum compared to similar hospital systems.

Health care experts have advised the board members that they can close the inpatient rooms at Provident and Oak Forest hospitals. Those patients would be treated at Stroger Hospital, which has plenty of empty beds. At the same time, the system could use Provident and Oak Forest as regional "hub" treatment centers, providing outpatient surgery and other specialized services.

Some patients would be hospitalized farther from home. But the changes wouldn't pose a danger to patients.

Underused hospitals and profligate spending don't improve health care. They just waste a lot of money that could be more wisely used to ensure the long-term stability of the system. That stability needs to come from a health system that provides excellent care in efficient ways that the citizens of this county can afford.

The health care system can make these changes on a careful timetable. The sales tax rollback doesn't go into effect until mid-2010 -- though we wish it were sooner. The modest loss of revenue for next year already has been factored into the health system's 2010 budget. The independent panel also has been adept at finding more revenue for health services that doesn't come from local taxpayers.

So Mr. Stroger, let these folks do their job -- the job you couldn't do -- and stop trying to scare people needlessly.

Yes, thanks to the sales tax rollback, county government will have less money to spend. But the County Board has no shortage of ways to make do.

Cut the payroll. Stroger said in 2006 that he would trim the county work force to 22,000. He hasn't; his 2010 budget calls for 23,845 employees. Hold him to his word.

Combine offices. Centralize services. Privatize janitorial duties. Outsource food services. Eliminate redundant print shops. Offload the county road system. These ideas and many, many more have been floating around for years in efficiency studies.

If Stroger has lost the studies, he can ask U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley for them. Quigley tried for years as a county commissioner to get them enacted. Or Stroger could ask Laurence Msall of the watchdog Civic Federation. We bet Msall can recite them from memory.

So let's stop the hysteria about the grim reaper. Mr. Stroger's political career might be on life support, but nobody's going to die if Cook County finally shapes up.


Recent Headlines

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicagoís only lynching victim gets memorial
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Grio

County harassment survey shows mixed faith in reporting system
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jailís Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019
WTTW News

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

all news items

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