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Preckwinkle seeking help from Stroger administration

Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan

She is seeking the help of the very people she may fire.

But Cook County Board President-elect Toni Preckwinkle said she needs the help of outgoing board President Todd Stroger’s administration as she prepares to take the reins of the $3 billion government next month.

So she emailed and faxed letters seeking help to some 50 Stroger-appointed cabinet members and other county bosses — some of whom Preckwinkle has said will likely get a pink slip once she takes office.

“I am writing to encourage your assistance in providing necessary information and taking meetings as those requests are made,” Preckwinkle wrote in a note sent Monday to everyone from the county Chief Financial Officer Jaye Morgan Williams to Director of Facilities Management Jim D’Amico.

Several have contacted her, saying they’d be glad to help — including D’Amico, who plugged how efficiently his office was running when contacted by the Sun-Times.

“I’m glad to help,” said D’Amico, who noted he emailed Preckwinkle’s transition team to say as much.

“My obligation, [even] if she chooses to replace me, is to provide a template — and I can’t think of a better template than one that has drawn two national awards,” D’Amico said of his job, which includes repair and upkeep of county buildings, including the jail.

Preckwinkle, who beat incumbent and fellow Democrat Stroger in the February primary, griped in the final months of the campaign that she couldn’t get any budget information out of Stroger or his administration.

The two finally met in Stroger’s 5th floor executive office at the county building on Tuesday — for about 10 minutes. Stroger’s spokesman didn’t return a call for comment, and  Preckwinkle offered only a brief statement through a spokeswoman:  “Unfortunately it was a very short meeting.”

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