GOP county board members oppose tax increase
Friday, June 15, 2007
by Silverstri, Goslin, Gorman & Schneider
Letter to the Editor
To the people of Cook County:
The County Board certainly is an interesting place these days.
County Board President Todd Stroger recently suggested the possibility of a 2008 budget with tax increases. As a group, we continue to oppose tax increases. County government must first reform and learn to spend tax dollars prudently.
Actions that must be taken include: providing the Bureau of Health with the tools to generate more revenue from insurance companies, from patients with the ability to pay and from pursuing reimbursement for patients from outside Cook County; and the privatization of nonessential government services where possible. These are just a few examples of actions that must be accomplished to put the county in better financial condition.
We will not support new or increased taxes in the upcoming budget debate. None of us has supported tax increases or new taxes to balance any of the county budgets since our initial elections.
As a group, we enthusiastically support a resolution calling for truth in budgeting. We are concerned with changes that have been made to the fiscal year 2007 budget without the consent of the county board. With millions of dollars being shifted, we feel it is our duty to hold this administration to task.
The truth in budgeting resolution takes real action against this administration and will produce real results. No-confidence motions that lack any legal authority or real effect (but might look good in a fundraising letter) continue the tradition of "all talk, no action" that has existed on this county board for far too long.
As a group, the Republican commissioners voted against the appointment of Stroger's cousin as chief financial officer for Cook County. We believe a county of this size, with a budget in excess of $2.6 billion, required a national search (or at least a regional search) to solicit a high-caliber pool of candidates from which to choose the best person for the job. Because of the manner in which it was handled, we never will be assured that Cook County is best served.
As a group, we also opposed the awarding of an "insider" contract to a cleaning company to provide janitorial services at the County Building. We successfully insisted that the sheriff of Cook County perform his statutorily mandated role of providing these services in county courthouses (as the County Building includes one courtroom). The alternative of laying off employees to be replaced by a company at no cost savings was unacceptable.
As a group, we regularly oppose actions by the administration that are inconsistent with best business practices, like hiring relatives without engaging in a thorough search for qualified candidates and awarding contracts to friends and supporters.
We pledge to continue to work in the best interests of our communities and districts in an effort to reform the archaic county government, its system and its practices.
Peter N. Silvestri
County commissioner, 9th District
County commissioner, 14th District
North Northwest suburbs
Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman
County commissioner, 7th District
Southwest, West and Northwest suburbs
Chairman, Cook County Republican Central Committee
Timothy O. Schneider
County commissioner, 15th District