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

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



Tracking your tax dollars: Cook County, get with the program

Friday, March 06, 2009
SouthtownStar
by SouthtownStar editorial staff

THE ISSUE: The Cook County Board passed a resolution to publish all county expenditures, taking cues from neighboring DuPage County.

WE SAY: There is no reason Cook County should drag its feet on the proposal unless elected officials have something to hide.

H ere's a change of pace for Illinois: DuPage County's newly elected auditor, Bob Grogan, recently published online every expenditure countywide, leaving off the list only payments that could be considered privacy violations.

What does this mean? If you pay taxes in DuPage County, you can view on a monthly basis exactly how public officials are spending your money, down to a $32.38 purchase of file folders for the DuPage County clerk of the circuit court. The only payments not included in the monthly checklist are those protected by privacy rules, such as payroll stubs or reimbursements to health care providers on behalf of insured employees.

Visit the DuPage County Web site to see for yourself: www.dupageco.org. Click on the auditor button. On the left side of the auditor page, click on the "Transparency in Government" tab. From lunch meetings to ink cartridges, it's all there.

In Cook County, 16th District Commissioner Tony Peraica followed DuPage's cue. He introduced a resolution during Wednesday's board meeting calling on Cook County to do the same. Why shouldn't taxpayers be able to track county expenditures? No good reason exists, unless elected officials have something to hide.

Ten Cook County Board members supported Peraica's initiative, including Southland commissioners Jerry Butler (D-3rd), of Chicago, John Daley (D-11th), of Chicago, Elizabeth Doody Gorman (R-17th), of Orland Park, and Peraica (R-16th), of Riverside. Commissioners William Beavers (D-4th), of Chicago, and Joseph Moreno (D-7th), of Chicago, voted against it, and Deborah Sims (D-5th) of Chicago voted present. Commissioner Joan Murphy (D-6th), of Crestwood, was absent.

Opponents of the measure cited cost concerns. That's hogwash.

Peraica's office received an initial $15,000 estimate from the county's own information technology department to get the program up and running. That's $15,000 of a $3 billion budget.

Even if Peraica's estimate is low, the overall cost would amount to a small percentage of the county's overall budget, and an expense, in our opinion, worth every penny. The cost-savings alone from department heads who might spend their budgets a bit more wisely, knowing the information is easily available, will pay for the program going forward.

More importantly, Cook County Board members already receive the information in their twice-a-month packets. They approve expenditures at each board meeting. So there's no reason the public shouldn't have access to the same information, particularly with today's technology. We're talking about transferring data to a disk and popping it up on the county's Web site.

If DuPage County can get its program up and running in a matter of weeks, Cook County can, too.

The difficulties lie ahead, however. Peraica's resolution passed, but that doesn't mean it will be implemented. Resolutions are advisory only.

Peraica's staff says he intends to introduce the idea in binding ordinance-form if Cook County administrators drag their feet.

We won't wait for miracles, but we hope with an election year looming, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger will realize the importance of this initiative and instruct his departments to work together to get it done.

We'll be keeping tabs to make sure taxpayers know about it, if he does not.



Recent Headlines

Recorder of Deeds staffers accused of political motive in firing
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

TIF Revenue Down 2 Percent in Suburban Cook Co.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Palatine Patch

Cook County sheriff's department will focus on catching people wanted on arrest warrants
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

An unwelcome surprise from the Cook County health system
Monday, July 14, 2014
Chicago Tribune

New Cook County Health CEO must find millions in savings - stat
Monday, July 14, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Fitch cuts rating on Cook County
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Reuters

Man trapped in Cook County Jail 30-plus hours files court papers
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Man trapped in Cook County Jail visiting room for 31 hours
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Orr, Suffredin To Explain Expanded Voting Rules At Town Hall
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

County land bank sweeping up the debris of the housing crisis
Monday, July 07, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Exoneree Diaries: Jacques mentors in Cook County juvenile detention
Monday, July 07, 2014
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

No way to paper over Circuit Court Clerk's record keeping: critics
Friday, July 04, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Meeting on changes in election law
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Evanston Now

Winnetka receives $2M grant, authorizes stormwater project bidding
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Pioneer Press

Winnetka receives grant for flood control work
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Same-day voter registration coming to Illinois
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Chicago Tribune

County health system names new CEO
Friday, June 27, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County health system names new CEO
Friday, June 27, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business

Navy corpsmen sharpen skills at Stroger
Friday, June 27, 2014
Chicago Tribune

Interim CEO to stay on as head of Cook County hospital system
Friday, June 27, 2014
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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