Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.
   
     
     
     



Cook County Board of Ethics appoints new chair after previous two ousted amid earlier shakeups

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Chicago Tribune
by Alice Yin

The board in charge of enforcing Cook County’s ethics ordinance on Thursday ushered in a new chair, the third to hold the position this year after a series of recent member shake-ups.

Thomas Szromba, currently the longest serving of four members seated on the Cook County Ethics Board, was voted in without opposition to be the panel’s next chair.

“He’s had the most tenure right now, and I think it’s important to maintain consistency with the work that the board is doing,” board member Von Matthews said during a virtual board meeting.

Szromba is principal senior counsel at Boeing, where he has worked for more than a decade. Before that he served stints as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago and as a counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The ethics board enforces the county’s ethics ordinance, which sets rules on how more than 20,000 county employees and officials should conduct themselves. Five unpaid board members are tasked with investigating complaints of ethics ordinance violations, spearheadingaudits, drafting up recommendations and other guidance — although currently only four members are on the board.

Szromba’s appointment came during the board’s first meeting since the pandemic and after Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ousted the two previous chairs. Former Chair Margaret “Peggy” Daley left in January after Preckwinkle, who is in charge of appointing and reappointing ethics board members, opted not to renew Daley’s term. That led Daley’s colleague David Grossman to resign in protest.

Months later, Preckwinkle told Daley’s replacement as chair, Juliet Sorensen, that her tenure on the ethics board would wrap up in June.

“As board members' terms were set to expire, we wanted to give other members of the public an opportunity to serve,” Preckwinkle spokesman Nick Shields told the Tribune in August.Daley and Sorensen have said they think otherwise, and wondered whether their attempts to roll out proposed reforms to the ethics ordinance irked Preckwinkle.

The proposed revisions to Cook County’s ethics ordinance, which the ethics board voted to recommend in January, included forbidding nepotism in county hiring and county commissioners from taking certain outside jobs. They also would mandate lobbyists disclose if they have relatives who work for the county, introduce new rules to clamp down on sexual harassment, prohibit the state’s attorney from settling ethics lawsuits without the ethics board’s approval and increase fines for certain ethics violations.

Cook County Board Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, has said he plans to file an amendment to the ethics ordinance during the next Board of Commissioners meeting on Sept. 24 that will include many of the ethics board’s proposals.

David Orr, former Cook County clerk and founder of the political action committee Good Government Illinois, said Szromba is a “very capable” choice for chair, but he worried about forces outside the ethics board impeding him in his mission.

“Ethics legislation is always a difficult sort of challenge, but the real challenge is political interference," Orr said.

CONTACT

Alice Yin works the overnight shift at the Tribune, responsible for covering whatever breaks. She is a Medill School of Journalism graduate and was a statehouse reporter for the Associated Press in Michigan before being hired last summer by the Sun-Times. Alice likes to explore new restaurants, go jogging and frequent bookshops.


Recent Headlines

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposes raising Forest Preserves budget next year with rainy day funds
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Delays leave suburban Cook voters wondering if their ballots will count
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Illinois orders tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings in several suburban counties as coronavirus positivity rates rise
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Why some Cook County voters are still waiting for mail-in ballots
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Daily Herald

Editorial: Impact of COVID-19 emphasizes role of ACA in Cook County budgeting
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Daily Herald

Cook County tosses ‘lifeline’ to needy residents, opening housing voucher waiting list for first time since 2001
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

'COVID fatigue' blamed for second surge in coronavirus cases; Chicago health experts warn people not to let their guard down
Monday, October 19, 2020
WLS ABC 7 Eyewitness News

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: COVID-19 cases on the rise in long-term care facilities; applications open for relief fund for restaurant workers
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

For first time in nearly 20 years, Cook County opens suburban housing voucher waitlist. At least 10K people already applied.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Preckwinkle balances the county’s COVID budget. Next up, Lightfoot.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker blames President Trump and his allies for coronavirus spike in Illinois
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Chicago Tribune

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlines $6.9 billion budget plan: ‘This pandemic has dealt Cook County and its residents a catastrophic blow’
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle touts restorative justice in budget that slashes court, jail funding: ‘We cannot police our way out’
Friday, October 16, 2020
The Daily Line

‘We Are In a New Wave of COVID-19’: Pritzker
Friday, October 16, 2020
WTTW News

Everything You Need To Know About Voting Drop Boxes In Illinois
Friday, October 16, 2020
WBEZ News

Pritzker Extends Ban on Evictions for 7th Month
Friday, October 16, 2020
WTTW News

Pritzker to extend eviction moratorium another 30 days: ‘Nothing really has changed’
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Record-high Illinois COVID-19 caseload, hospitalizations and positive test rate rising: ‘We are in a new wave
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

A Cook County budget built to ‘weather the storm’ — but the rain had better be moving on
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Layoffs, cutting vacant jobs all part of Preckwinkle’s $6.9 billion budget plan to ride out COVID-19 storm
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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