Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
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.
   
     
     
     



Dorothy Brown Pitches Money-Making Idea - That Lands With A Thud

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
WBEZ News
by Kristin Schorsch

The chief record keeper of Cook County’s court system tried to make her case Wednesday to government leaders that she needs another $8 million next year to hire more workers.

One possible way to pay for it? Calendars.

Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown appeared before the County Board during another day of budget hearings to make her pitch. But Democratic Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s proposed $6.2 billion budget for 2020 recommends Brown get just one-third of the employees she wants to hire.

If Brown wants more money, commissioners looked to her for suggestions. One of them is selling paper calendars that hang in county courtrooms, which feature Brown’s photo.

“I’m trying to think outside of the box,” Brown, a Democrat, told commissioners. “New ideas.”

Her suggestion landed with a thud.

Stay up-to-date with the latest news, stories and insider events.

Sign Up

Veteran Commissioner John Daley, who runs the finance committee and is leading budget hearings, said he didn’t think the county could sell calendars that it buys with taxpayers dollars. The Chicago Democrat suggested getting a legal opinion because he’s not a lawyer.

“But I am,” Brown jumped in.

“So am I,” quipped Commissioner Bridget Degnen, D-Chicago.

So are a few other commissioners.

Brown’s office had previously been smacked down when it requested $20,000 from the board last month to buy 10,000 calendars with the court clerk’s face printed on them. At the time, the court clerk’s representative said they needed more calendars to put into the county’s more than 300 courtrooms. She said judges use them to schedule cases.

Some commissioners said Brown was just trying to use the calendars as political swag.

The colorful exchange Wednesday between Brown and commissioners came on day three of hearings for Preckwinkle’s proposed 2020 spending plan. A parade of elected and appointed officials who run the county health system, courts, elections and the jail have been defending their pieces of the proposed budget. In some cases, they’ve pushed for more resources.

With a roughly $100 million budget and more than 1,000 employees, Brown oversees one of the largest circuit court systems in the nation. Her offices house millions of documents on cases ranging from murders to traffic tickets.

With a stubborn 20% absentee rate among her staff and an expected deluge of marijuana conviction expungements as Illinois legalizes weed, Brown told commissioners on Wednesday she needs 167 more clerks and other employees. Clerks process the flurry of paperwork for all the people who come before the bench in more than 300 county courtrooms.

Brown also pitched another idea: Charge an extra fee for people who want expedited service, like getting court files the same day they request them, and potentially charge more money if people want documents on a jump drive or a DVD. Brown said records older than four or five years are stored in a warehouse offsite.

“Right now we take your request and it just gets put in line with everything else,” Brown said.

She would not say how much she would charge for expedited service or how much money it would generate. Brown said Timothy Evans, who is chief judge of the county’s court system, must approve her recommendation. A spokesman for Evans said the chief judge would review the proposal.

Brown said if she doesn’t get more clerks, “Then we’re doing what we’re doing now - scrambling.”

Judges and the public are already complaining, she said.

County budget hearings are scheduled to continue through early next week. Commissioners are scheduled to approve the proposed budget next month. The new fiscal plan would begin on Dec. 1.

Kristen Schorsch covers Cook County politics for WBEZ. Follow her @kschorsch.



Recent Headlines

Preckwinkle aide barred from her offices after sexual harassment incident
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

New outreach group combating Cook County’s opioid crisis by offering treatment, hope
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
WGN News

Evanston Officials Eye County Grant for Construction of New Animal Shelter
Monday, February 10, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

CTA to spend $38 million studying Red Line extension
Monday, February 10, 2020
Chicago Tribune

In Illinois — the Prairie State — little prairie land remains. But work is being done to save what’s left in Cook County and restore more.
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Brookfield Zoo chief heads for the exits
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Suspect in weekend killing of Cook County inmate accused of beating another detainee in November attack captured on video
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Tribune

MacArthur grants Cook County another $2.5 million for criminal justice reform
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Property tax hikes won’t be that bad, new report says
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

MacArthur Foundation donates $2.5 million to Cook County Criminal Courts
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Improvements planned for Green Bay Road in Evanston as part of long-term project
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County judicial candidate Arthur Sutton has history of disciplinary issues
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Injustice Watch

Area legislators dish on policy plans that impact seniors
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Pappas and other Cook County, Chicago and federal elected officials urge residents to return the 2020 Census questionnaire
Monday, February 03, 2020
Daily Herald

Plans for new Provident Hospital paused
Monday, February 03, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Death of Cook County Jail detainee ruled homicide, officials say
Sunday, February 02, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin encourages constituents to properly dispose of unused prescription drugs at local drop off sites
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

1st Installment 2019
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Report Links Chicago’s Black Population Loss To Rising Inequality
Thursday, January 30, 2020
WBEZ News

'I'm a little amped up about this': Cook health board members riled by Preckwinkle's control moves
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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