Stroger defends his administration's work.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Letter to the Editor
Todd H. Stroger, President, Cook County Board of Commissioners, Chicago
I strongly object to the Chicago Tribune's mischaracterization of county government under my leadership as "doing nothing" and one "whose house is not in order" ("Todd Stroger's 'solemn oath,'" Editorial, Sept. 26).
We've done our best to inform the taxpayers about our enhancements, changes and achievements through the media. Unfortunately much of the coverage we've received is based on sensationalized myths and distortions often fed by my political opponents, while the real news of our accomplishments is largely buried or ignored.
Particularly disturbing is the repeated insistence that I have padded the county
payroll with friends and family. My administration has parted ways with more than 80 "Shakman-exempt" employees while bringing on fewer than 40 -- saving the county more than $4 million.
The myth about wholesale patronage hiring is at the heart of most of the loud and libelous criticism heaped on myself, my staff and this administration since I took office.
We have assembled a well-qualified, diverse, loyal and hard-working team.
Here is a snapshot of what you may have missed during all the distractions:
- I sponsored and won board approval for much-needed changes in the inspector general ordinance, a key element of my promised commitment to rooting out corruption.
- I instructed auditors to look at county operations, uncovering problems with
contracts and procedures at the jails, the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and other areas, and responding by firing high-ranking staff and disclosing the matters to the board and the media.
- We successfully lobbied state government to turn over management of the JTDC from my office to the chief judge.
- We overhauled our procurement code and ensured a transparent process that is accessible through the Internet.
- We saved money by transitioning county government buildings into the deregulated energy market and aggressively encouraging use of lower-cost lighting and heating technologies.
- We joined other counties across the nation in a groundbreaking agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.
- We demonstrated new technologies for road building, which generated two road construction projects using recycled tire rubber in the paving process.
- We consolidated operations in human resources, public affairs and finances in our Bureau of Health Services.
- We improved our Ambulatory Screening Clinic by doubling the number of screening rooms to 24.
- We continued to fill more than 4.6 million prescriptions a year, at a rate of 18,000 per day, while improving wait times and adding pharmacies at Fantus Clinic, and Stroger and Provident Hospitals.
- We began generating new revenue through a $3 fee for prescription drugs.
Finally, my motivations are and will always be to serve in the best interest of the people of Cook County. No amount of personal or political gain is worth the personal attacks I've endured since taking office.
If you don't get anything else right, know that I'm in this for the people.