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

Cook County's nonexistent residency policy
While the city of Chicago has a firm policy requiring workers and especially execs to live in town, Cook County’s policy about where its staff lives is very hit-and-miss.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Crain's Chicago Business
by Greg Hinz

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Sometimes you learn things in elections. One thing I’ve learned in this one is that while the city of Chicago has a firm policy requiring workers and especially execs to live in town, Cook County’s policy about where its staff lives is very hit-and-miss.

Some folks are required to live in the county, others not. It depends on who you work for.


Under terms of a 2004 court case, unionized workers are exempt from any such rule unless it’s included as part of a bargained contract. That covers most of the county’s workforce, effectively excluding them from any residency rule.

But Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, while letting little folks off the hook, does require policymakers, those exempt from Shakman decree patronage rules, to live in the county.

Why the rule?

“As a Shakman-exempt employee, it is important to identify with the needs and objectives of the residents of Cook County,” said a 2018 rule issued by Preckwinkle’s human resources bureau. “This can ideally be achieved if the employee is, in fact, an actual resident of Cook County.”

Added the memo, “As a Cook County resident, an employee not only participates directly in the activities of a neighborhood, but has the ability to enhance the quality of life in the community of Cook County. This participation and commitment is essential to the cultivation of a strong sense of public service as it positively impacts the citizens of Cook County.”

However, Preckinwinkle’s order applies only to offices directly under her control, excluding the huge health unit and, notably, offices run by independently elected officials. And they all go their own direction.

For instance, county Treasurer Maria Pappas says that while it’s never been an issue in her small office with less than 100 workers, “to the best of my knowledge” they all live in the county. Pappas suggested that she’s not making a big deal of it. When the office had some recent vacancies, “We put out an ad and nobody responded. It’s hard to find people,” she said.

As first pointed out by his re-election foe, Kari Steele, county Assessor Fritz Kaegi has allowed top staffers to live outside the county, with Deputy Assessor and Chief Valuation Officer Martin Paulson residing and registered to vote in Lake County and Director of Special Projects Craig Duval in DuPage County.

Kaegi, in a statement from his Chief Legal Officer, Tatia Gibbons, said he’s just treating top aides fairly, given that lower-ranking office workers now are legally exempt from having to live in the county.

“In order to treat all employees similarly, the assessor chose to adopt the same approach for all employees,” said the statement. “This decision was made by the assessor after consulting with the county independent inspector general to ensure that this was an appropriate course of action."

Both staffers are highly qualified for their jobs, with Paulson, for instance, having formerly served as the Lake County assessor, added Kaegi spokesman Scott Smith. Those are the only two senior staffers who live out of the county, Smith said.

But Steele says the two should “move or be fired.”

Another county official, Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez, says the issue “has never popped up” since she took over two years ago.

“We have no (residency) policy per se,” Martinez said. “There is no rule.”

Apparently not.


Recent Headlines

After criticism over COVID, the CDC chief plans to make the agency more nimble
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

CDC director calls for drastic changes to the agency following pandemic missteps
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
NBC 5 Chicago

Walensky, Citing Botched Pandemic Response, Calls for C.D.C. Reorganization
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
New York Times

Immigration advocates sue LexisNexis in Cook County Court over personal data
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Chicago Journal

‘Dramatic rise’ in Kia and Hyundai thefts spurs warning from Cook County sheriff
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Chicago Tribune

Man dies at Cook County Jail
Monday, August 15, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

We Draw You In With Beauty
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

$5M Cook County grant program will help suburban manufacturers
Friday, August 12, 2022
The Daily

Cook County back down to medium COVID-19 risk level, but hospitalizations and deaths high across Illinois
Friday, August 12, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Annette Nance-Holt: The time is now: Why we need a statewide ban on assault weapons
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Chicago Tribune

Larry Suffredin on 20 years of problems solved and unsolved
Monday, August 08, 2022
The Daily Line

Foxx’s ‘rudderless’ office needs reorganization as county offices scramble to hire, retiring commissioner says
Monday, August 08, 2022
The Daily Line

Clerk of Cook County courts calls for more security after Daley Center breach
Monday, August 08, 2022

A Chicago man was charged in an alleged security breach at a Daley Center courtroom
Friday, August 05, 2022
Special to

The Next Generation of Environmental Stewards Is Training at Cook County Forest Preserves
Thursday, August 04, 2022
Special to

Ex-Cook County assessor worker admits he helped lower taxes by $1M in exchange for home improvements
Thursday, August 04, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail detainee dies after medical emergency, officials say
Thursday, August 04, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Monkey Pox Update
Wednesday, August 03, 2022
Special to

A Cook County judge expressed fears before a ‘very serious breach’ at the Daley Center
Wednesday, August 03, 2022

For the Love Of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
Tuesday, August 02, 2022
Special to

all news items

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