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 was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight
by Amanda Vinicky

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?

Chicago and Cook County have sometimes-spotty reputations when it comes to how they run government operations. But they have taken steps to clean up their acts, in part through the creation of offices of inspectors general – a relative rarity for municipal governments.

“Cook County has come a long way, there’s no question. Since when I started in 2008, things were very dark when it came to information and supplying rationale for why decisions were being made,” County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard said Monday at the City Club of Chicago.

A bright spot came when the Illinois Supreme Court in 2016 issued an opinion requiring all 27 Cook County elected officials to cooperate with the inspector general’s office, after Assessor Joe Berrios resisted tendering records.

“That being said, inspiring transparency is clearly an ongoing effort,” Blanchard said.

On the wish lists of the inspectors general: minimum floors for their budgets, and additional subpoena powers.

While City of Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson has the power to investigate the City Council, he does not have oversight of several programs managed by the council’s Finance Committee, including the workers’ compensation system and the program that allows drivers to seek reimbursements for car damage.

“It’s those sorts of things that still are dark space. It’s actually a relatively small portion of the overall city budget but I think it’s a symbolically important one,” he said.

When asked by a reporter whether the inspector general wasn’t given jurisdiction over those programs because powerful Ald. Ed Burke chairs the Finance Committee, Ferguson said, “I did not watch closely and was not part of any backroom discussion for parliamentary maneuvers that resulted in it, but yeah, that’s obviously what the elephant in the room was.”

Burke’s office did not return an afternoon call seeking comment.

While inspectors general don’t need to rely on the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, to get public records, it’s a common tool for the media and public citizens seeking information.

Too often, governments do the bare minimum to comply, Ferguson said.

“Look, lawyers got to do what lawyers got to do. But it’s largely been co-opted by those with the information and the power to utilize through clever legal arguments all sorts of variations on a core set of exemptions. (Some of those exemptions actually being really important.) But the fact of the matter is, is that FOIA and litigation in FOIA is used to avoid disclosure of a lot of public information. The litigation process used as basically a blocking mechanism,” he said.

The Chicago Board of Education inspector general’s office will soon take on a massive workload: Come October, it will handle allegations of sexual abuse at Chicago Public Schools – cases currently handled by CPS’s law department.

The transfer is part of the fallout of a Chicago Tribune investigation into hundreds of cases of sexual abuse at CPS.

Inspector General Nicholas Schuler says an advantage is that going forward, sustained findings of abuse will be made public.

“People will know the nature of what happened, they’ll know what we recommended, they’ll know what the board did. So in some way they’ll know what happened,” Schuler said.

The CPS inspector general’s office is also tasked with looking back at more than a decade of previous sexual abuse cases.

To do it, Schuler’s looking to hire a dozen new employees – roughly double his current staff; resumes are being accepted online now.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky

Related stories:

CPS Watchdog Adding Staff for New Sex Abuse Investigations Team

CPS Watchdog: ‘Pervasive Problem’ with Enrollment at Some District Schools

Report: Chicago Police Officers Gaming Overtime System

Recent Headlines

Nearly a century after a brutal murder, Chicago’s only lynching victim gets memorial
Thursday, March 21, 2019
The Grio

County harassment survey shows mixed faith in reporting system
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jail’s Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

all news items

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