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.

   
  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



New inspector general, borrowing on tap at Cook County Board meeting

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Chicago Tribune

The Cook County Board has a full agenda on tap Wednesday. Commissioners will consider a somewhat controversial choice for county inspector general and whether to borrow $3.75 billion. Most of that sum would be a refinancing deal to save money, but another $750 million would go to pay for, among other things, construction projects and pension payments. For more on all of these issues, keep reading...

From today's print edition:

By Hal Dardick
TRIBUNE REPORTER

Cook County Board commissioners Tuesday backed hiring as their in-house corruption buster the same attorney who has defended them and Board President Todd Stroger against claims of illegal political hiring.

Asst. State's Atty. Patrick Blanchard won the day after coming to his own defense, saying he would act with "independence, objectivity and integrity at every step" as county inspector general. State’s Atty. Richard Devine also backed Blanchard, who has represented the county in the landmark 1969 federal Shakman case that that prohibits political hiring, promotions and discipline for most county employees.

Michael Shakman, the attorney who brought the patronage case, ripped the choice.

"His appointment would say clearly and unmistakably that Cook County is not ready for patronage reform," Shakman told commissioners. "To appoint your own lawyer as the watchdog over your own political hiring and firing and other illegal activity makes a joke out of the concept of independent oversight that this office is supposed to provide."

As a result of the 10-3 committee vote for Blanchard—who was picked by county officials from among three candidates selected by local legal groups after a nationwide search—the County Board is set to finalize his hiring Wednesday.

That, Shakman said, would cause him to ask the judge overseeing the Shakman case to name a second inspector general to handle any future claims of illegal patronage.

"The image of this body is going to be tarnished," said Commissioner Earlean Collins, a Chicago Democrat who voted against Blanchard. "We are going to spend more money in court."

In other action Tuesday, commissioners voted to give the Stroger administration authority to issue $3.75 billion in bonds and sanctioned a simplification of the county property-tax assessment system. Those measures also are slated for routine approval Wednesday.

The bonding authority would allow Chief Financial Officer Donna Dunnings to refinance about $3 billion in outstanding bonds, provided she can save 3 percent, or more than $90 million. But the deal also will allow her to borrow $376 million for building projects, $260 million for the public health system's self-insurance fund and $104 million for pension fund payments put off last year.

Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) said Stroger's administration did not provide adequate detail about who would get the lucrative legal counsel and bond business, was inappropriately borrowing money to pay for day-to-day operations and wasn’t clear about how all of it would be used.

"The board has delegated the authority for hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing without a clear explanation of how it will be used after approving the largest tax increase in the county's history," he said, referring to a sales-tax increase enacted earlier in the year.

He also suggested future bonds could give Stroger, his political nemesis, "funny money" to lower property taxes before his anticipated reelection effort in 2010.

The tax assessment changes were proposed by Assessor James Houlihan. They would decrease the number of property tax classifications from seven to two—with residential property assessed at 10 percent and commercial and industrial property at 25 percent—to provide "clarity, simplicity and accuracy to the assessment process," he said.

"Passing this ordinance in itself will neither increase nor lower anyone's tax bill, nor will it result in the tax burden being shifted from one class to another," he added.

Less certain at Wednesday's meeting is the fate of a Stroger-proposed ban on doing business with "unfair lenders," not to mention Stroger's proposal that the state impose a one-year moratorium on mortgage foreclosures to give those facing ouster from their homes time to renegotiate terms.


Recent Headlines

Cook County Health Needs A New CEO. Could Politics Get In The Way?
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
WBEZ News

Search for new Cook County Health CEO expected to take about 6 months
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Deadline for Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Kaegi: 'The embrace of a failed status quo makes no sense'
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

City Club of Chicago: Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
WGN Radio

Cook County Assessor Staying Below The Radar
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
WBBM Radio

Census hiring event Wednesday in Schaumburg
Monday, January 20, 2020
Daily Herald

Proposed health oversight shift not a ‘power grab,’ Cook County officials say
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Cashes In On Legal Weed
Thursday, January 16, 2020
WBEZ News

Cook County OKs 3% marijuana tax
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Preckwinkle looks to claw back some oversight of Cook County Health
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Pace Announces Public Hearings on Proposed North Shore Service Changes
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Pot taxes in Chicago could be as high as 41% by July as county moves forward with 3% levy
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Wants Sweeping New Authority Over Cook County Health
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
WBEZ News

Preckwinkle urges businesses to help fight 'cost of segregation'
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Daily Herald

County Finance Committee set to approve $165K settlement in ‘political discrimination’ case
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

More Weed Taxes? New Hospital? What To Watch For At Cook County Board
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
WBEZ News

Seniors now able to apply for multi-year homeowners property tax break this year
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Owes $79 Million In Unclaimed Property Tax Refunds; Do You Have Money Coming?
Monday, January 13, 2020
CBS Chicago

Lincolnwood OKs sick days for workers but rejects minimum wage
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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