Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

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 is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.

Cook County Commissioner defends Metra Board members, predicts ouster move will fail

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
by Rosalind Rossi

A Democratic Cook County commissioner Wednesday predicted a proposed resolution asking half the Metra board to resign would fail and said the idea was “terrible public policy” because the “bad apples” on the Metra Board have already bailed out.

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin defended three Metra Board members targeted for ouster just as state Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) said the refusal of at least two of the trio to resign made them the “poster children for why we need change.”

Meanwhile, the co-chair of Gov. Patrick Quinn’s new transit task force said Wednesday “that’s a real problem” if Metra board members are refusing calls from their political sponsors to step down.

“That’s obviously one of the things we’ll be looking at if it doesn’t get resolved very quickly,’’ task force co-chair George Ranney told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force will convene for the first time at 1 p.m. next Tuesday in Room N502 of the Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street. Public comment is welcome.

Quinn appointed the task force’s 15 members in the wake of a scandal that has gripped Metra ever since board members agreed to pay ex-CEO Alex Clifford $871,000 to exit his contract eight months early and keep mum about the deal — unless questioned by authorities. Since then, public hearings have revealed that at the time, Clifford had threatened a whistleblower lawsuit, based on his charges that two board members wanted to dump him for refusing to “play ball’’ on patronage and contracts.

Ranney said he expects the task force to look at how the region’s transit operations stack up against others across the nation, and how the best-performing systems are governed.

“Something needs to be done to restore Metra’s credibility. That’s part of our assignment,’’ said Ranney, CEO of Metropolis Strategies and former chair of another task force that helped create the RTA.

Five of 11 Metra Board members have resigned since the Clifford mess went public, including former chair Brad O’Halloran and colleague Larry Huggins. Both were mentioned prominently in an April 3 memo in which Clifford outlined patronage and contract-related requests by the two men and accused them of trying to orchestrate his ouster.

Suffredin noted that the April 3 memo never mentioned the three suburban Cook County Metra Board members — Don De Graff, Arlene Mulder and William Widmer III — whom opposing Republicans on the County Board now want to dump. The four Republicans have sponsored a resolution — only advisory and yet to be approved — that asks all three Metra Board members to resign pending the selection of replacements by Cook County commissioners. De Graff and Mulder say they have no plans to leave. Widmer has not responded to requests for comment.

“I think it is terrible public policy to appoint quality people to these boards and then try to pull the rug out from them, especially when the bad apples appear to be O’Halloran and Huggins, and they are gone,’’ Suffredin said.

“There’s no indication anywhere that any of these three [De Graff, Mulder and Widmer] have done anything wrong.’’

However, Franks accused the trio and the rest of the board of failing to ask tough questions as the tangle of Clifford accusations unraveled before their eyes. Franks said he would have “probed more” about an insurance policy that board members say was barely mentioned and then shrugged off, but RTA auditors say would have provided $10 million in liability coverage if Clifford had sued Metra.

“To continue to say they were kept in the dark means they weren’t tenacious enough, they weren’t doing their job,” Franks said.

“They are cooking their own goose. They are proving why there needs to be fundamental change.’’

Also Wednesday, Democratic Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski asked anyone interested in filling O’Halloran’s southwest and west suburban Metra seat to send him a resume and cover letter. In a news release, Tobolski said he wanted to make the nomination process “as transparent and open as possible.’’ Wrote Tobolski: “This is a great opportunity to serve your community and be a leader.’’

Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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