Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  

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:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  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

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials arenít sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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