Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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 has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Special to

1. CUT BUDGET 2% ACROSS THE BOARD - $59.9 million
The question is simple: raise taxes on Cook County taxpayers as will be proposed by President Stroger, or cut expenses by 2% across the board. Cutting 2% from the FY 2004 budget amount of approximately $3 billion would produce a cost savings of $59.88 million. In a $3 billion dollar budget, agency heads should easily be able to operate with 98% of FY 2004 budget for FY2005.

2. CUT 1,000 OPEN POSITIONS - $49 million
According to a documents distributed by the Cook County budget office in February 2004, there were 1,932 full-time vacant positions for a total amount of $97.5 million in salaries. The money from these budgeted open positions is often transferred to pay for unplanned over-time expenditures. There are currently 1000 positions still vacant. The elimination of these positions will save Cook County taxpayers $49 million.

3. ADJUST VACANCY RATE FROM 3% TO 6% - $40.5 million
Historically the county has had an actual vacancy rate significantly higher than the budgeted 3%, because of an inability or unwillingness to fill open positions in a timely manner. The result has been over-appropriations and higher than necessary budgets and taxes. By simply doubling the vacancy rate to 6%, which more accurately reflects actual vacancies, the county can save $40.5 million.

Cook County government appropriated $29,185,453 for over-time for FY 2004. Actual expenditures for FY 2004 are not available, but in FY 2003, $41 million was appropriated for over-time, but $77 million was actually spent. This represents a 146% increase over what was appropriated during the budgetary process. Uncontrolled over-time expenditures are a function of poor management. Other governments have been able to cut over-time expenditures. The City of Chicago, for instance, has reduced over-time by 33% over the past four years, from $120 million to $80 million. Enforcing management discipline and holding over-time expenditures to actual appropriated levels, would save Cook County taxpayers $30 million annually.

Currently non-union County employees receive a yearly step increase in addition to annual or semi-annual cost of living adjustments. The average yearly step increase is approximately 4.5% . This is in addition to the cost of living adjustment (COLA) that averages around 3%. Total annual increase of 7.5% is clearly higher than the national average for the U.S. Workforce of 3.5%. Each 1% COLA costs taxpayers approximately $13 million per year. The average step increases costs taxpayers $26 million per year. Therefore, during an average year taxpayers are paying an additional $65 million per year for wage increases alone. The elimination of step increases would save $26 million annually. The elimination of the average COLA would save $39 million annually. Either choice allows for yearly wage increases for county employees while promoting fiscal responsibility.

Non-union county employees pay a $3 co-pay for medical visits. The increase in the co-pay from $3 to $10 would decrease the county's costs by 3% yielding an annual savings of $5.9 million.

In addition, the average Cook County employee pays $16 per month for HMO coverage, yet the County pays an average of $264.78 per employee (with no family members) for coverage. If an employee has two or more enrolled family members that cost jumps to $773.39 per employee, while the employee still pays $16 per month. If every county employee paid an additional $16 per month towards their health insurance costs, the county would save $4.9 million annually. Another option would be to create a tiered system depending on numbers of covered family members.

County departments and agencies have many duplicative functions including human resources, planning, and financial management. Through the consolidation of these functions, the county can realize annual savings of approximately $8.4 million and increased efficiency and service delivery.

According to a 1996 cost of service study compiled for the County administration, the cost per "summons" (the term used in the study) was $37.89. With a fee set at $23.00, the net loss per summons was $14.89. When multiplied by the number of summons served in that study year-465,602-the total net loss to the County in providing service of process was more than $6.9 million. This cost is in addition to the salaries of the Process Servers in the Court Services Division of the Cook County Sheriff's Office. Salaries for the process servers, not including benefits, total almost $7 million. If the plaintiff has the ability to hire a private process server without the Sheriff's Office making first attempt at service we will save a minimum $7 million annually.

By applying technology in a comprehensive and strategic manner, beginning in FY 2005, Cook County could save at least $35 million annually, with the full savings realized within two years. If aggressively adopted at the beginning of the fiscal year, such technological improvements could approach $5 million by the fourth quarter of the fiscal year.

Currently the Cook County Sheriff's Office employs 336 personnel to provide janitorial services at a cost of $14.97 million. Based on comparable units of government, privatizing this function would result in $3 million annual cost savings for Cook County taxpayers.


Recent Headlines

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Special to

Cook County Assessorís Office Publicly Releases Residential Assessment Code and Models
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Special to

EDITORIAL: Long in the MWRD pipeline, IG plan needs a yes vote
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Cuts Ribbon on Outpatient Center in Arlington Heights
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Special to

Homeowners in Chicago have just a few weeks to get current on their 2017 property taxes - or risk losing their homes. WBEZís Odette Yousef reports.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
WBEZ Chiacgo Public Radio

Editorial: The Foxx-Smollett questions for Inspector General Blanchard
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County pet owners warned of spring coyote dangers
Monday, April 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County inspector general to review prosecutors' handling of Jussie Smollett case
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Foxx requests Cook County IG investigation into handling of Jussie Smollett case
Friday, April 12, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A challenge to one of Chicago's biggest draws for companies
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

What Evanston's assessments tell us about the new assessor's new math
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

$3.85 million granted in lawsuit against ex-Cook County forest preserve worker charged in fatal on-the-job crash
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

A Day in the Life of a Cook County Burn Crew
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

EDITORIAL: Splitting up the regionís sanitation board is an idea that stinks
Monday, April 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawmakers Look To Keep 10-Year-Olds Out Of Jail
Thursday, April 04, 2019

Property Tax Workshops Help Homeowners Appeal Assessments
Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Large crowds of Evanston residents turn out to appeal property tax assessments
Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Family of slain cabbie accuses Cook County state's attorney's office of dodging FOIA request
Monday, April 01, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Property Tax Appeal Seminar Set For New Trier Township Residents
Monday, April 01, 2019
Journal and Topics Online

all news items

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