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Mosquito Abatement Board Table for Two

Sunday, December 21, 2003
Special to suffredin.org

By law, the North Shore Mosquito Abatement Board is supposed to have five members, but the controversial group of political appointees is down to two. Under intense pressure to abolish the whole operation, Cook County Board President John Stroger has not appointed replacements for those who've resigned, leaving Morton Grove Building Inspector Bill Zimmer to serve as both treasurer and secretary while 86-year-old retired Courthouse Deputy Otto Cesario serves as president. Cesario's election was an exercise in the surreal. Zimmer made the nomination, Cesario seconded it, and Zimmer then cast the lone vote making Cesario president. The two men then approved a budget of nearly $1 million for 2004 operations.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times reports most top-paying jobs in the Cook County Forest Preserves ($80,000 and higher) have gone to politically-connected people and not to those with expertise in forestry or natural resources. "Three months ago, County Board President Stroger hired Pam Munizzi - a former state legislator and members of Commissioner John Daley's 11th Ward Organization - to be his

$104,000 a year liaison to the Forest Preserves," wrote reporter Abdon Pallasch. "Rank-and-file workers asked why Stroger needed another liaison when he already had Frank Damato as intergovernmental affairs director. That job was created for Damato when he lost his seat on the Cook County Board...New commissioners on the board ask what Damato does for $81,000 a year other than stand to Stroger's right through Forest Preserve meetings lasting up to five hours, laughing at Stroger's jokes and smirking at opposition comments.



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