Although Cook County
commissioners have agreed in theory in the budget passed last month how
much they want to borrow this year, how they do it is still a sticking
With last month's approximately $3 billion budget,
commissioners loyal to President Todd H. Stroger cried uncle and cut
the spending plan instead of borrowing to pay for recurring legal
expenses. But all commissioners agreed that borrowing $260 million to
$290 million for capital projects - things like constructing new
buildings and medical equipment for the hospital - was OK.
But when Stroger forces tried to advance such a
proposal Wednesday, wary opposition commissioners defeated the measure,
worried that the legal language could still leave vague how much
Stroger was authorized to borrow.
The revolt was led by Larry Suffredin, an Evanston
Democrat, and a lawyer very familiar with legislative law. But he was
partially aided by the normally solid Stroger vote of John Daley, who
voted present, rather than for the bond measure.
Suffredin's opposition was just a minor setback for
Stroger, since Suffredin indicated if the bond deal was worded and
handled differently, he would go along with it.
More significant was Daley's growing discontent with
Stroger. Daley said after the meeting he voted present because there
might be the perception of a conflict of interest because one of the
bond companies employs his nephew. But Daley added that even had he not
had that conflict, he would have voted no out of dissatisfaction with
Stroger's inability to get his votes in a row before bringing
ordinances to the floor.
Stroger should have dealt with Suffredin beforehand, Daley said.