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 Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.

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

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Sunday, November 13, 2918
Chicago Sun-Times

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

HOPE Court, created to keep probationers out of prison, shut down amid problems
Friday, October 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Can Kaegi really reform the assessor's office?
Friday, October 26, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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