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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



New Recorder of Deeds may have violated ‘Shakman Decree’

Sunday, December 02, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by Robert Hergurth and Dane Placko

Karen Yarbrough didn’t waste time in exerting clout at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office, which she was elected to oversee earlier this month. In fact, she didn’t even wait until she was elected. In September, six weeks before the Nov. 6 general election that saw Yarbrough voted into the county post, she tried to halt hiring at the agency until she was able to take office, according to documents reviewed by the Better Government Association and FOX 32, and interviews. The suspicion was Yarbrough, a Maywood Democrat who has been a state legislator, wanted to fill any open jobs with her political supporters. The problem: Aside from the brazenness of trying to influence an agency she didn’t technically run yet, Yarbrough may have violated a federal court order known as the “Shakman Decree,” which is intended to minimize politically motivated hiring, firing and promotions in local government, according to the documents and interviews. Of the 200 or so jobs in the recorder of deeds office — which keeps real estate records relating to sales and foreclosures — only a half dozen can be filled with political appointees, under the court order. The rest of the jobs are supposed to be filled objectively.  On Sept. 20, the office publicized a job opening to find someone to help run the agency’s mapping division, a hire that’s supposed to be devoid of political considerations. The next day, Yarbrough campaign aide Bill Velazquez met with a top recorder’s office employee named Darlena Burnett to relay that Yarbrough “was displeased with the recent posting,” according to a report filed by a court-appointed monitor. What’s more, Velazquez wanted the agency “to cease attempting to fill any and all vacant positions through the remainder of its administration,” the report stated. The report relayed that on Sept. 26, Yarbrough wrote an email to Burnett saying Yarbrough was “extremely disappointed that several high-level hires are being made.” Burnett, wife of Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), is the No. 2 person in the recorder’s office, behind retiring Recorder Eugene Moore. Her job is among the half-dozen positions that can be filled with political appointees, so she could rightfully be worried about losing her job under Yarbrough. Although Burnett said that wasn’t her motivation — she was trying “to extend some level of cooperation” — she reversed course and decided not to fill the mapping job or six other non-political posts, the report stated. Burnett’s actions were “plain violations” of the Shakman Decree, the report stated, and the county’s inspector general began an investigation. Yarbrough didn’t return calls from reporters. However, her aides relayed that Yarbrough’s intentions were pure, designed to halt eleventh-hour political hiring by Moore. Yarbrough “wanted to be sure that . . . she would not inherit more problems created by her predecessor’s office,” Velazquez said via email. The agency “has a history of political patronage hiring and blatant violations of the Shakman Decree.” That’s true, and why the recorder’s office is subject to the Shakman Decree — named for attorney Michael Shakman, whose 1969 lawsuit challenged the patronage system and resulted in court-sanctioned agreements limiting political hiring. Moore denied trying to pack the rolls on his way out the door and said Yarbrough wanted to halt hiring so she could put more of her people on the county payroll. Could her intrusion into hiring get her into trouble? That’s unclear. But those who run afoul of the court order can be found in contempt of court. Yarbrough takes office Monday.


Recent Headlines

‘Do you know who I am?’ Investigators say Cook County commissioner pressed cops to scrap ally’s $250 parking ticket
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

IG: Cook County needs revamp on sexual harassment outside of work following allegations against Preckwinkle ex-chief of staff
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

North suburban landlords slapped with big assessment hikes
Monday, July 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Miscalculation leads to increased tax bills in Wheeling Township
Friday, July 05, 2019
Daily Herald

Judge rules state legislators violated Illinois Constitution by voting to freeze their pay
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Search: Chicago Property Tax Increases and Decreases by Ward
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
WTTW News

Millions in Cook County property tax refunds going to homeowners whose bills show no balance due
Monday, July 01, 2019
ABC 7 Chicago

Why 7,600 property owners in suburban Cook County are getting tax refunds
Monday, July 01, 2019
Daily Herald

$25 million in property tax refunds going to 25,000 owners
Monday, July 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois hiring hundreds to reduce Medicaid backlogs
Monday, July 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County health officials say IG report was ‘simply wrong’ even as commissioners plan hearings on system’s finances
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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