Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
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.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Taking efficiency wherever we find it

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Daily Herald
by Daily Herald Editorial Board

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s renewed suggestion that suburban courthouses be closed on the weekends appears to have been made more in defiance of calls for spending cuts than in embracing them, but it deserves a deeper look whatever the intent. Even more important, it represents the kind of “zero-based” thinking that must be done at all levels if government is to bring its costs more in line with its revenues.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has demanded that all county departments trim spending this fiscal year by 20 percent. In his response to that call, Dart is correct to observe that the sheriff’s department operates with more fixed costs than most other agencies. The department, after all, is still governed by a court order to increase hiring at the overcrowded Cook County Jail. To his credit, Dart already has identified $43 million in cuts from his $440 million budget.

But that is not to say that more can’t be found if we’re willing to look at doing things differently than they’ve always been done before. Ending the Saturday suburban bond courts is that kind of topic — and it extends beyond simply the sheriff’s department, which obviously doesn’t run the court system but merely supports it.

The five Saturday bond courts — including those in Rolling Meadows and Skokie — effectively operate for about four hours each weekend. Although they employ skeleton staffs, they still require personnel from the sheriff’s department, the state’s attorney’s and public defenders offices, judicial offices, clerks and others. No cost estimates have yet been placed on reducing such a large segment of the courts operation, but it has to be, in the words of a Dart spokesman, a “huge savings.”

Which is not to say it’s a slam dunk. The process of changing could have many painful collateral effects. To be sure, the savings have to be considered against the costs that municipalities would assume in keeping suspects incarcerated all weekend, the expense of transporting prisoners for appearances downtown when necessary and the workload that would have to be absorbed during the rest of the week.

But those are figures that ought to be calculated, and the true value of Saturday bond court, beyond the obvious convenience, deserves close scrutiny. It is not enough to say that “we’ve always done it this way.” We have to be looking at new, more efficient ways to do them.

And that’s the kind of thinking that needs to applied everywhere in government, not just in the courts or sheriff’s department. Dart may have been challenging “the system” when he targeted suburban bond courts as a means of reducing his department’s costs, but inadvertently or not, he hit on an idea that, if it stands up to further research, could result in substantial, ongoing efficiency.

That’s a spirit not to be defied but encouraged.



Recent Headlines

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

EXPERIENCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOREST PRESERVES THROUGHOUT WINTER
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

As we build a road, we will protect the forest preserves
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Campaign to weed out European buckthorn across the suburbs
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Northwest Herald

Airbnb hosts in Cook County earned $109 million last year: report
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County senior exemption deadline extended
Monday, February 04, 2019
Daily Herald

Decadelong legal battle over Barrington Hills horse farm — eyed as huge forest preserve — may be nearing resolution
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Protect iconic forest preserve from concrete overkill
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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