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.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



New morgue boss not giving up his $5,000-a-day side job

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by NEIL STEINBERG

Nearly five thousand bodies a year go through the Cook County medical examiner’s office, an office that — whoever was to blame — found itself in disarray this past year, with bodies piling up in the morgue cooler and staffers snapping photos of grisly refuse to send to the press.


You’d think that cleaning up and then running the ME’s office, which now pays $300,000 a year, would be a full-time job.

But the newly designated medical examiner, Dr. Stephen J. Cina, whose selection was announced Tuesday, also has a long-time lucrative side job as a forensic pathology consultant for high-profile lawsuits, pulling down $5,000 a day, plus expenses.

A job he plans to keep once he takes over for sacked predecessor, Dr. Nancy Jones.

“We allow our employees to have second jobs, as long as they don’t conflict with county work,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Nor is Cina — pronounced “See-nah” — licensed yet to practice medicine in Illinois, so he cannot sign death certificates.

“He does not have a license right now, but he is applying and by the time he gets here, he will have it by then,” said Mary Paleologos, a spokeswoman for Preckwinkle’s office.

The good news is it shouldn’t take him too long to get his license in Illinois.

“Usually a week or two,” said Susan Hofer, of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. “We try to provide customer service.”

Once his licensing is in place, Cina, 46, will find himself in an office that is, despite his arrival, still seriously understaffed, with only five forensic pathologists available to help him perform autopsies — there are supposed to be 15, though Preckwinkle has promised more hiring.

Cina is now the associate medical director and chief administrative officer of the University of Miami’s Tissue Bank. Before that, he served as deputy chief medical examiner in Broward County, Fla., from 2007 to 2011. Last spring, he applied for the position of Broward County medical examiner when it became open, but he wasn’t selected.

All the while, he worked both his day jobs and kept up his big-bucks consulting business, charging $400 an hour to advise over the phone, plus testifying at more than 200 trials, charging $5,000 a day for out-of-town work, no credit cards or personal checks accepted.

“If you need an autopsy report reviewed or a patterned injury on an assault victim analyzed, consider a consultation with Dr. Stephen J. Cina,” his website, autopsyreview.org, ballyhoos.

His wife, Julie, an MBA, handles the business aspects.

County employees are permitted to do up to 20 hours a week of outside work, though that might not be possible once Cina sees the mess he needs to clean up and the political hoops he must jump through.

“I think he’s going to find that his duties as chief will interfere with his ability to continue his consulting practice,” said outgoing medical examiner Nancy Jones, who herself did legal work before joining Cook County — but stopped once she became medical examiner.

Cina said Tuesday he plans to work “up to eight hours a week” at his side business and promised not to take on work from any clients in Illinois.

“The job is 24/7, which doesn’t leave much time for outside work,” Jones said.

Speaking through Preckwinkle’s office, Cina declined an interview to explain the challenge of balancing consultation work with his new role of medical examiner.

He’ll have to scrupulously keep his business separate from county work. Medical examiners with private businesses have gotten themselves into trouble in other parts of the country in the past.

For instance, Cyril Wecht, a Pennsylvania pathologist, was accused of doing $400,000 worth of private work at public facilities and on public time while Allegheny County coroner in the early 1980s. The case dragged on for years, and he was eventually acquitted of criminal charges but ended up repaying the county $200,000 after a civil lawsuit.

Preckwinkle said she is not concerned that Broward County just passed on the chance to hire Cina last May.

“No, we’re grateful he’s willing to take the challenge,” she said. “He was recommended by his predecessor.”

Dr. Jones?

“No, Dr. [Edmund] Donoghue,” Preckwinkle said, referring to the ME before Jones. “Then we did a pretty thorough search.”

The search consisted of evaluating three of the 300 to 400 medical examiners nationwide who qualify for the position.

“Not like people were banging at the door trying to be chief medical examiner of Cook County,” Paleologos said. “We needed to act swiftly. We were under the gun. He was very interested in the position. He approached us.”

The board of county commissioners votes on his appointment July 24.



Recent Headlines

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas on unclaimed property tax exemptions: ” Most seniors didn’t know that they could get it.”
Friday, July 19, 2019
WGN Chicago

Top Forest Preserve cop quits after burying ticket of county pol’s pal who asked ‘Do you know who I am?’
Friday, July 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: ‘Do you know who I am?’ Not yet, but we sure know your type
Friday, July 19, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo says he got a friend’s parking ticket voided
Friday, July 19, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago-Area Cooling Centers Offer Residents Chance to Beat the Heat
Thursday, July 18, 2019
NBC 5 Chicago

Editorial: ‘Do you know who I am?’ Not yet, but the people of Cook County deserve to find out.
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Top Forest Preserve cop quits after burying ticket of county pol’s pal who asked ‘Do you know who I am?
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago’s top cop ‘must stop misleading the public’ about violence, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says in heated letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Chicago Tribune

‘Do you know who I am?’ Investigators say Cook County commissioner pressed cops to scrap ally’s $250 parking ticket
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

IG: Cook County needs revamp on sexual harassment outside of work following allegations against Preckwinkle ex-chief of staff
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Construction Begins on New Cook County Health Center
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Daily Herald

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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