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:  

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


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

  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.

Editorial: Preckwinkle right to demand cuts

Thursday, January 20, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
by Sun Times editorial staff

No one said this would be easy.

But new Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is absolutely right when she insists that county officials get serious about cutting their budgets a full 16 percent.

The county is facing a $487 million deficit in its roughly $3 billion-a-year operations, and there’s no way that kind of hole can be filled without pain. And remember, even if Preckwinkle and the County Board erase that $487 million deficit, they’ll be doing nothing more than getting the 2011 budget into line. There still would be no room to discontinue the county’s penny-on-the-dollar sales take increase, which Preckwinkle has pledged to repeal.

Preckwinkle has said she will make the 16 percent cuts in her own office, as have Assessor Joseph Berrios, the Board of Review, Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore and health and hospitals CEO William Foley. (Because the fiscal year started Dec. 1, the offices actually must cut by 21 percent to achieve 16 percent savings by year’s end.)

But State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Sheriff Thomas Dart and Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown — whose operations together typically account for a third of the budget — have said the 16 percent cut is too onerous for them.

We’re frankly surprised that Dorothy Brown can’t find a way to make significant trims in an office that traditionally has been larded with workers who don’t have much to do while others carry the load.

On the other hand, Alvarez and Dart — who say they are cooperating with Preckwinkle — have legitimate concerns.

Ninety-eight percent of Alvarez’s budget is personnel, and she is required to staff courtrooms throughout the county. If she doesn’t, the chief judge can appoint a special state’s attorney at a rate that Alvarez calculates at $185 an hour vs. the $65 an hour it costs for a staff lawyer.

Alvarez’s office also performs other tasks, but financial savings won’t be easy to find there, either, according to her numbers. For example, if the county outsourced the handling of Stroger Hospital’s medical malpractice suits, the expense would disappear from Alvarez’s budget, but the overall cost to the county would soar because outside lawyers would have to be hired.

Dart, meanwhile, must comply with court orders on staffing that make trimming his payroll an exceptional challenge. And even laying off every police officer, court deputy and appointed employee wouldn’t be sufficient to meet Preckwinkle’s goal. He has proposed a 9 percent cut.

Still, Preckwinkle is absolutely correct that costs must be brought into line. Alvarez and Dart should submit budgets that meet the 16 percent guideline. If the results are too onerous, the County Board would be free to ease up on the state’s attorney and sheriff and look for savings elsewhere.

To her credit, Preckwinkle sees the downside to across-the-board cuts, where bloated offices and lean ones get whacked the same, and she seems to be working to avoid that in the future. She has proposed ways to make county government more efficient and responsive, ranging from sharing office functions across county agencies to improving the efficiency of the criminal justice system. But she needs time to get it done.

In the meantime, the numbers have to add up.

Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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