Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  

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.

Stroger administration hunkers down against press

Sunday, July 06, 2008
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

Besieged with negative press over a record-breaking $426 million sales tax increase, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's administration is forbidding department heads from speaking with the media unless his spokesman is present - an apparent effort to improve the news coverage of his administration.

Although the policy has been around for some time - some officials say it began under former chief of staff Lance Tyson - it is being reemphasized amid bad publicity from the tax hike, which took effect July 1.

Examples of the policy in action include:

June 24: County budget director Jarese Wilson, moments after publicly acknowledging her department had yet to produce a finished 2008 budget halfway into the budget year, refused to discuss the matter, citing the policy and the absence of the spokesman, Eugene Mullins.

"I have procedures and policies to follow," apologized Wilson, who has routinely spoken to reporters about such everyday budget matters before.

Moments later, county Chief Financial Officer Donna Dunnings, who some say is a key in setting Stroger administration strategy, acknowledged the existence of the policy.

June 20: A receptionist for Rupert Graham, the head of the highway department, wouldn't even let a reporter pose a question to Graham, referring him instead to Mullins. The question was fairly simple, an inquiry into how much salt the highway department had loaned out to the North and Northwest suburbs during the past winter. Such salt-sharing was an example Todd Stroger himself put forth at a public forum in Palatine on June 16 as an example of what the county does for suburbanites.

A call was placed to Mullins, who never provided the answer.

Despite these instances, Mullins on June 24 denied such a policy existed - just hours after his superior, Dunnings, had acknowledged it.

Ironically, clamping down on talking to the media comes at a time when Mullins has publicly complained Stroger can't get his message out to the public because of a media bias.

Because Mullins refused to acknowledge the policy, he could not be asked the rationale for the policy or what it hopes to accomplish.

A Stroger critic, county Commissioner Democrat Michael Quigley, said sometimes it helps to make sure everyone in an administration is on the same page so that all employees put forth the president's message rather than disparate individual opinions. But clamping down altogether makes no sense, he said.

"If you put people you trust - competent people - in place, you should trust them to talk to the press, because not everything can go through one person," Quigley sai.

"It's just foolhardy to try and control it in this vein. - It's sort of a variation of their bunker mentality," he said.

And what did the information conduit have to say about the policy for this story?

Mullins did not answer messages left on his county phone Thursday, and his cell phone message box was full. He also did not respond to an e-mail.

But Chris Geovanis, another county spokesman, said there may be some confusion about the policy.

"It's not a question of a standing policy that press calls must be cleared through Gene Mullins," said Geovanis. "It's rather the request that ... managers make sure this office is informed and given an opportunity to collaborate. That said, we know we need to do a better job in responding to press calls and requests, and we're committed to doing that."

Recent Headlines

Cook County forest preserve picnic, camping permits for 2020 season to go on sale Nov. 15
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago’s public defender plans to ask Illinois Supreme Court to reverse decision that permits holding preteens in custody despite county ordinance
Monday, November 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Yarbrough touts ‘method to her madness,’ says hiring criticism ‘is purely personal’
Saturday, November 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Nonprofit hospitals forced to defend hundreds of millions in property tax breaks
Friday, November 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Land Bank must serve neighborhoods, not City Hall insiders
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

After judge’s dismissal, Skokie appeals federal lawsuit over Evanston water rates
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 teens in DCFS care were shackled and handcuffed during drive from a youth shelter: ‘Totally unacceptable,’ agency says
Friday, November 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

The lifelong damage we do in Cook County when we jail kids as young as 10
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Unfair assessments lawsuit dismissed after assessor makes changes — full reform called a ‘years-long process’
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Watch out, Cook County land bank. The public could foreclose — on you.
Thursday, November 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Niles raises property tax about $21 per average household
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Pioneer Press

Nov. 15 is Opening Day for Forest Preserves of Cook County Picnic and Special Event Permit Sales, 2020 Camping Reservations
Wednesday, November 06, 2019
Special to

$8M grant program aims to expand Cook County animal shelter space
Tuesday, November 05, 2019
ABC EyeWitness News

Even as Illinois court permits detaining pre-teens, across U.S. fewer youth being held
Monday, November 04, 2019
Injustice Watch

Cook County OK’d insider deal for Ald. Carrie Austin’s top aide
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A progressive measure intended to keep preteens out of Cook County jails was effectively struck down by an appellate court
Monday, November 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Health CEO Calls on Other Hospitals to Increase Charity Care
Friday, November 01, 2019

Labrador retriever sworn in at Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Yes, really.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff wants chief judge to take over electronic monitoring of suspects, citing the records of those released
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois appellate court rejects ordinance banning detention of 10-12 year olds
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Injustice Watch

all news items

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