Cook Board OKs Preckwinkle appointments
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
by Ted Cox
The Cook County Board rubber-stamped appointments by President Toni
Preckwinkle today as she continued to “clean house” after replacing Todd
The board approved the appointment of former state treasurer
candidate Robin Kelly of Matteson as chief administrative officer, and
also the salaries of top Preckwinkle staffers. Chief of Staff Kurt
Summers Jr. is getting $182,000, Deputy Chief of Staff John Keller
$116,000 and Director of Communications and Public Affairs Jessey Neves
$105,000, at a combined reduction of $14,000 from the pay given their
counterparts under Stroger.
Preckwinkle said after today's Cook Board meeting that those
salaries would hold under the 2011 budget to be approved next month, and
that she would meet her own call for a 21 percent budget cut by not
filling open positions in her office.
Preckwinkle also said she would be meeting Monday with state
officials over emergency flood grants withdrawn by the state when they
were improperly administered by the previous administration. It was
unclear if the flood grants would be redistributed, but Preckwinkle
said, “We've got to clear that up.”
Elmwood Park Republican Commissioner Peter Silvestri said he
had been “very impressed” by Preckwinkle's quick response to the loss
of the state funds.
Similarly, Preckwinkle appointed Karin Norington-Reaves to
head the President's Office of Employment and Training, again at the
behest of state calls for reform. “This has been a troubled agency for a
long time,” Preckwinkle said. “It was clear they expected significant
change, and we're going to try to provide it.” Norington-Reaves, who cut
her teeth politically and professionally at the Citizens Utility Board,
comes with state credentials as deputy director of the Office of Urban
Assistance in the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.
In an unconnected promotion, Cook County State's Attorney
Anita Alvarez named Shauna Boliker first assistant state's attorney.
Boliker moves up from serving as chief of the Criminal Prosecutions
Bureau to replace Adrienne Mebane, who retired last month after 20 years
in the state's attorney's office. Fabio Valentini replaces Boliker as
head of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau.