Former Stroger campaign staffer gets county consulting job
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
by Lisa Donovan
A one-time campaign staffer for Cook County Board President Todd
Stroger was awarded a $15,000 consulting job to help the county
negotiate contracts with its labor unions.
Raymond L. Harris Sr.,
of Bolingbrook, worked on the Stroger campaign briefly, but that wasn’t
the reason he was tapped, said Stroger spokesman Eugene Mullins.
not because he was a campaign worker — it was because of his extensive
experience in labor relations,” Mullins said. “He has over 40 years
experience, and he’ll be sitting at the table with the ... bargaining
Harris, who is retired from the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees, is described as an expert in
labor negotiations — even working on 13 previous collective bargaining
agreements in the county — in a recommendation letter written by the
county’s human resources chief Joseph Sova.
Commissioners Timothy Schneider and Tony Peraica were the only ones who
voted against the contract, with five other commissioners absent, and
the remaining 10 commissioners approving it.
“This is yet another
appointment of a former political worker to the county payroll,” Peraica
said. “I think it’s inappropriate. I think it’s something that
shouldn’t be allowed or condoned.”
Joseph Mario Moreno and Deborah Sims both said Harris’ vast expertise in
labor makes him a top-notch candidate for the job.
initially in line for a one-year, $60,000 contract, but the deal was
amended to $15,000 and would conclude in November — providing the new
Cook County Board President a chance to decide whether Harris should
Democratic Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Republican
Roger Keats, and Green Party candidate Tom Tresser, are all on the
ballot for the Nov. 2 election.
Harris, who did not return a call for comment, also received a $5,000 contract from the county in May for consulting work.