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Cook County Board President introduces new efficiency and transparency initiatives
Preckwinkle seeks cost-saving ideas from employees, residents & publishes new daily online schedule

Monday, January 10, 2011
Special to suffredin.org

To help address the county’s short and long-term fiscal challenges, the county is turning to its greatest asset: its employees and residents of Cook County.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made several announcements today, including a first-of-its kind award program for employees, a new Web site tool for residents to submit their ideas about how to improve the county and a public calendar to help residents keep track of the President’s day-to-day activities.

The new Front Line Award will be given to an employee or team of employees from Cook County who submit the best idea to create efficiencies or improve services. The award program was announced to employees internally last week. The innovation award concept has found success elsewhere.

The winning individuals or teams will win lunch with Cook County Board President and will be recognized at a Cook County Board meeting in April. The winning submissions will also be promoted through press releases and on the Cook County Web site.

Residents will also be given the opportunity to send cost-saving and efficiency ideas as well. The “Make Cook County More Efficient” component of this initiative can be found at the Cook County Government (www.cookcountygov.com) website. Residents can send their ideas to the Office of the Cook County Board President via the survey available here http://www.cookcountygov.com/portal/server.pt/community/office_of_the_president/237/make_cook_county_more_efficient/593.

Preckwinkle said the initiative is similar to one that was used during her transition. The transition Web site was garnered hundreds of ideas from the public which were utilized in drafting Preckwinkle’s transition report.

“During the transition, we assembled our report based on input from across the private and public sector, including hearing directly from residents who have brought diverse viewpoints and decades of experience to our efforts. We want to continue to collect the valuable insights our residents can provide. This gives us a mechanism to do that and continue our commitment to transparency and accountability,” Preckwinkle said.

“Solving immediate budget crisis is just the first step. We want to implement innovative new ideas and policies that will make the county run more efficiently. We’re counting on the residents who interact with the county to help us to this through this new efficiency initiative. We talk a lot about collaboration and that means working with the public to meet these challenges together.”

The Office of the County Board President will also begin publishing the President’s public schedule online. The new addition to the county Web site represents another commitment to one of her office’s core guiding principles: transparency and accountability. It’s formatted as an easy to read Google calendar and will be updated on a regular basis.

“My commitment to making Cook County government more transparent and accountable to its residents is a central priority for my administration. Everyone should see that Cook County government is serving and working for the residents and communities throughout the County,” Preckwinkle said.

The new Office of the County Board President Public Calendar can also be viewed by visiting www.CookCountyGov.Com (Direct link:  http://www.cookcountygov.com/portal/server.pt/community/office_of_the_president/237/president's_calendar/594)

Both projects were developed in collaboration with the new County Chief Information Officer Greg Wass. Wass formerly served as the CIO for the State of Illinois and was an early hire in President Preckwinkle’s administration.

“The goals set by President Preckwinkle are very clear. Making the public part of the legislative process is one of the best ways to increase transparency. This is an important first step. We will continue to use technology to build bridges between the public and our elected officials and we’re looking forward to hearing your ideas as we build a better Cook County,” Wass said.



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