Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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.

Preckwinkle appoints friendlier faces to Cook County health board

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times

Nearly half way through her first term in office, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is poised to appoint what observers say are friendlier faces to a county health board she’s struggled with.

During a special county board meeting Friday, she’ll announce her four appointments to the hospital governing board which oversees the county’s vast public health and hospital system. Commissioners must ultimately approve her choices.

The openings come as Dr. Warren Batts, board chairman, and Dr. David Ansell, Chief Medical Officer at Rush University Medical Center, end their four-year terms on June 30th. Preckwinkle decided against reappointing them. Neither could be reached for comment.

Two others are stepping down: Ruth Rothstein, the respected former chief executive of Stroger Hospital who backed Preckwinke’s election campaign, and Sister Sheila Lyne, President and CEO of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, who is quitting with a year left in her term.

It’s no secret Preckwinkle, elected in 2010, has been involved in a few tugs of war with the health board.

Last fall, the board and Preckwinkle were at a virtual standoff at one point during budget negotiations.

Earlier in the year, she scolded the health board for lousy community outreach as the county prepared to close Oak Forest Hospital in the southern suburbs. Patients-rights groups and hospital staff rallied against the closure and, initially, a state hospital regulator kept the doors open. But Preckwinkle retooled and enlisted the help of black ministers and community activists to get the word out that the hospital was being converted to an outpatient health clinic — and she eventually won the votes from the Illinois Health Facilities and Service Review Board to shut the hospital’s doors and reopen as a regional outpatient facility.

Last year’s search to replace the health and hospital system’s Chief Executive Officer also seemed to be a power struggle. Sources said Preckwinkle was backing Dr. Terry Mason, the county’s chief medical officer who stepped in as interim CEO when William Foley left last year for a private sector job. But health board members prevailed with their choice: Dr. Ramanathan Raju, then the chief operating officer of the New York City’s public health system.

The independent health board was created in 2008 — with Batts and Ansell as some of it’s founding members — under a budget deal. Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin cast the deciding vote for a controversial penny-on-the-dollar sales tax hike in exchange for then-Board President Todd Stroger ceding his authority over a system that for years was filled with patronage and bloat to an independent governing board.

While 11-member health board members — who are unpaid — make policy, hiring and contract decisions for a health system that serves the poor and uninsured — the president and county commissioners control the health system’s budget which represents $1 billion of the county’s $3 billion operation.

Preckwinkle’s appointments include: Carmen Velasquez, Executive Director of Alivio Medical Center, which offers public health services in the city’s Latino communities; the Rev. Calvin Morris, executive director of The Community Renewal Society, an economic and social justice organization founded in 1882; and Dr. Dorene Wiese, president of the American Indian Association of Illinois.

Edward Michael, a soon-to-be retired executive vice president of Abbott Laboratory Diagnostics, will fill out the year left on Sr. Sheila Lyne’s term.

Preckwinkle said in a statement Thursday that “each of these individuals brings expertise and a fresh perspective to the hospital board. Rev. Morris’ work in the community offers grassroots information from the patient’s perspective. Carmen Velasquez’ experience heading a Federally Qualified Health Center is a background that we have been seeking, and her abilities as a bilingual educator are an additional plus. Dorene Wiese is a community health advocate and educator with an operational background who will bring a unique diversity of ideas to the table. And Edward Michael has a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical and medical supply industry, as well as strong financial and legal credentials.”

Suffredin lauded both the outgoing board members and the new choices.

“They’re well within her authority — she’s putting good people who she has a personal relationship with on the board,” Suffredin said, adding: “And the people who have been there are good people.”

Recent Headlines

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials aren’t sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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