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Audit: Cook County Forest Preserve District not out of the woods
Study in wake of scandals finds workers not sure of duties, who their supervisors are

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Chicago Tribune
by Erika Slife

A new audit says the Cook County Forest Preserve District is so disorganized that its workers haven't had performance reviews in at least 15 years.

More than 70 percent of the district's maintenance workers are not able to say with confidence who their direct supervisors are, according to the audit. Some jobs overlap and employees aren't clear on their roles.


Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Forest Preserve General Superintendent Arnold Randall are expected to unveil the audit's findings at a Wednesday news conference. They also will talk about reform strategies.

"It is time for the Forest Preserve District ó just like every other government agency ó to take a hard look at its core functions and figure out ways to improve and streamline its work," Preckwinkle said in a statement. "This report reflects our commitment to a Cook County government that is transparent and accountable, and serves our residents and taxpayers as efficiently and effectively as possible."

The forest preserve has faced a couple of recent scandals, including an employee fired for growing marijuana on district property. The county inspector general found that employee sex, theft and underage drinking took place at an aquatic center in summer 2010.

Preckwinkle, who took office in December, quickly replaced the district's leadership, including its superintendent, and requested the audit.


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