Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

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



Commissioners to hold Preckwinkle to her word

Sunday, February 06, 2011
SouthtownStar
by Kristen McQueary

About once an hour, Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman’s telephone rings. On the line is a county worker recently laid off or still employed but terrified of the pink slip.

“I’m getting people who had 24 years (with the county) getting laid off and maybe a year shy or even a month shy of some type of pension,” she said. “They tell me they’ll take furloughs or vacation time or whatever to avoid being laid off.”

Just a few days after board President Toni Preckwinkle’s budget speech, county commissioners expressed reticence to embrace it wholly. Personnel cuts will exceed 1,075 positions, a significant slice of the work force that eventually could reach 6 or 8 percent, Preckwinkle told the SouthtownStar editorial board recently.

So while acknowledging Preckwinkle’s “honeymoon” period as a popular, newly elected official, the 17 county commissioners also have begun asserting themselves, subtly. They are the legislative branch — a “check” on the executive branch — charged with approving the final budget.

“As always, there is an amendment process and a hearing process,” Gorman said. “No budget is perfect, but then again this is nothing new. We had cuts as layoffs in 2007. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.”

In other words, thank you, Madame President, for the blueprint. We’ll take it from here.

That’s OK, as long as commissioners don’t plop glut back into the spending plan. They are facing pressure from the county’s powerful unions, including Service Employees International Union, to reduce layoffs. Commissioners want assurance the cuts are hitting all departments and levels fairly.

Gorman, an Orland Park Republican, said she wants to be sure laborers aren’t bearing the load of layoffs while managers coast toward long-term employment.

“During the amendment process, we can ask specifically those kinds of questions,” she said.

What voters don’t want to see is a lean county budget proposal from Preckwinkle land on the grill with ribbons of fat. Don’t turn a filet mignon into a rib eye.

Also playing into budget negotiations is ego. Veteran politicians who have, at some point, experienced the sting of news coverage feel certain bravado when a newly elected colleague becomes the beneficiary of editorial praise, as Preckwinkle has. The commissioners see a vantage point different from the media’s and the public’s. They see the darlings up close.

To that end, Gorman is introducing an ordinance that would prohibit workers receiving public pensions of $40,000 or more from taking new positions in the county system. The bill arose from her suspicion that some high-level Preckwinkle hires who previously worked for the city of Chicago are collecting county paychecks in addition to pension checks from their old jobs.

That practice of so-called double dipping is widely criticized by good government types — the same types now praising Preckwinkle for her stewardship.

On Dec. 30, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-Orland Park), that would end double dipping. It was unclear last week when I made phone calls whether the law applied in the situation Gorman’s ordinance attempts to end. The law would not, for example, take away the city pension check that County Commissioiner William Beavers (D-Chicago) receives; he also is paid by the county taxpayers.

But it might prohibit Preckwinkle’s hires whom she plucked from city retirement, including chief financial officer Tariq Malhance, from collecting two paychecks. Preckwinkle announced his hiring after Quinn signed the law.

Neither Preckwinkle’s office nor Quinn’s office could specifically address those types of cases.

Gorman’s beef with double-dipping extends to the unemployment rate. Malhance, for example, whom Gorman supported, is qualified for the job based on his years of experience. But might someone else who isn’t collecting a comfortable pension be able to fill that role?

“People drawing on those pensions are going to end up banking one of those paychecks,” Gorman said. “They don’t need all that money to live on. Instead, we can put someone back to work. If every other level of government adopted an ordinance like this, do you know how many more people we could put back to work?”

Preckwinkle presented her budget to commissioners last week, emphasizing a theme that “no one is absolved” from closing the county’s $487 million gap.

County commissioners, apparently, will ensure no one is absolved either — including Preckwinkle’s own cabinet hires.



Recent Headlines

Dart warns of 'dramatic increase' in accused gun offenders released on electronic monitors
Friday, February 23, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-soda tax PAC jumps in Cook County Board races
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Wilmette minimum wage working group surveys businesses, will survey residents
Monday, February 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Circuit clerk gets stay on e-filing order
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Hundreds gather at Bridgeport church for Cmdr. Paul Bauer's wake
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Dart goes to court in effort to find person accusing him of domestic violence
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Study says property tax system favors rich
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Property Tax System ‘More Regressive’ in Cook County, Report Finds
Friday, February 16, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

VIDEO: Cook County Jail detainees applaud CPD commander’s alleged killer
Friday, February 16, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Blockbuster report: How Cook County tax system shafts the little guy
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Dorothy Brown can't 'end-run' First Amendment, judge says in denying delay
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County prosecutors toss more convictions tainted by corrupt ex-Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Handwritten documents, Manila folders, carbon paper — welcome to Cook County criminal court
Monday, February 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County Commissioners missed over a third of Forest Preserve meetings
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail guards lock down sweet union contract—despite sour budget mess
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Running for judge, Dorothy Brown’s inspector general accepts donation from bos
Friday, February 09, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook Co. President Urges Trump To Stop ICE Arrests In Courthouses
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Beverly Patch

Voting in Jail? New Bill Seeks to Expand Ballot Access for Detainees
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

COOK COUNTY BOARD COMMISSIONER PROPOSES HEARING ON POLICE OVERSIGHT
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
WBEZ BGA

all news items

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