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County tightens up lobbying procedures

Thursday, October 05, 2006
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman Staff writer

The Cook County Board on Wednesday tightened its control over other county officials, unanimously voting on a bill to restrict other officials' ability to do independent lobbying in Springfield.


"Too many times we see legislation pass ... that has a tremendous impact on the budget of this county," said finance committee chairman John Daley (D-Chicago), the bill's sponsor. "Hopefully the elected officials will have better communication with the president and this board."


The ordinance, introduced by Daley, applies to all countywide elected officials, such as the clerk, the sheriff, members of the board of review or any county department head.


It says those officials must get prior written consent from the county board before lobbying for anything from the General Assembly. Officials who do not get consent would be expected to pay the county's increased costs out of their own budgets.


Other commissioners praised Daley for the proposal. Board president Bobbie Steele said she learned upon taking office in August that the county's lobbying efforts have not been well organized.


"There was a lack of coordination between the president's office and other elected officials," Steele said. "We should all be unified and on the same page."


The new measure follows a request from Steele for all county officials to cut their budgets by 10 percent for 2007. Most officials have said that's impossible. The 2007 budget deficit could run as high as $500 million, planners say.



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