Cook County Finance Committee and Special Board Meetings
November 17, 2022
The Finance Committee considered and passed 26 amendments to the proposed 2023 Cook County Budget of $8.75 Billion. The Board then immediately met and voted to approve the budget, as amended. These amendments increased the total amount by about $73 Million, resulting in the final $8.8 Billion 2023 budget. (Item 22-5700) The final budget continued to have no increases in taxes or fees or layoffs, while continuing the supplemental payments to the Pension Fund.
Some of the key amendments which utilized these funds or transferred funds from other line items included
Additionally, the Budget Resolution was amended to allow Cook County Health to use up to 30% of any excess Net Patient Services revenue over budget in 2023 to address increased costs related to direct patient care. (Amend. #26)
The additional dollars for these amendments came primarily from
During the public comment period, several speakers spoke against use of money for leasing the helicopter and adding 2 positions to the 911 call center, and advocated for the need for more funding to create a non-police response to mental health crises. The Civic Federation spoke in favor of the proposed budget, nevertheless noting concerns, including
League Observer: Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board of Commissioners Committee Meetings
November 16, 2022
Finance Committee – 9:30 am
Environment & Sustainability Committee – 10 am
(Agenda Item 22-6140) Com. Degnan moved, Miller seconded this ordinance amendment. The Environmental Commission has served as advisors to Board on environmental matters for the past 4 years. The ordinance was passed in 2019; this extends the sunset date of this Environmental Commission by 4 yr. Com Degnan explained the commission selected 3 goals for its first 4 years:
Technology & Innovation Committee – 11:30 am
(Agenda Item 22-5023) Motion made by Comm. Sean Morrison, seconded by Comm. Degnan to receive and file. The item was deferred last month because the Board of Review (BOR) was absent when they were expected to give updates on the process and expected date for being off the main frame and being fully integrated with the systems of the Assessor and related departments.
Charles O’Shields, Chief Deputy Commissioner from BOR, stated no timeline given applied to the BOR, no timeline was developed for BOR to exit off mainframe. He stated their tech improvements were demonstrated by their work in 2021.
Chief Information Officer (CIO) Tom Lynch and Derrick Thomas, Deputy CIO, responded to questions from commissioners. Their statements indicated the following:
Committee Chairperson Kevin Morrison asked Mr. O’Shields to attend the Jan. meeting of the Technology Committee and be prepared to provide an update of the Board of Review’s strategic plan; it should include a report on RFP progress and timeline. “OK” was Mr. Shield’s answer.
State’s Attorney’s Office representative Matt Steiner presented the update on their office. An apology, explanation of absence, and assurance that this would not recur were given. Process for getting off main frame began with Juvenile System which is on the mainframe; adult system is not. It began with a discovery process which involved integration of cases, data mapping, identifying risk points and developing 2-point solutions to address those. He stated they are on track to be off mainframe by August, 2023.
Motion to Receive and File reports was approved.
Carolyn Cosentino, LWVCC Observer
Cook County Finance Committee Meetings on the Budget
October 26, 2022, 9 am to 2:30 pm
The Sheriff said there should be little impact on the jail population in Cook County as a result of the SAFE-T Act going into effect on January 1, 2023. The Chief Judge explained the differences between the criteria for holding people in jail prior to trial in criminal cases now and after January 1.
Following are more details of the meetings with these two officials, as well as the meeting on the Capital Budget.
Office of the Sheriff -– Presented by Sheriff Tom Dart
Office of the Chief Judge -– Presented by Chief Judge Timothy Evans
Capital Budget Overview – Presented by Acting CFO Lawrence Wilson, Bureau Chief of Asset Management Elizabeth Granato, Director of Transportation Jennifer Killen, and Deputy CIO Adam Clement.
The 2023 Capital Budget is $505.2 M composed of
Among the projects included in the Capital Budget are
Observer: Priscilla Mims
CC Board Budget Hearings Continue - Nursing Shortages, Shakman Compliance, Failures to Respond to Inspector General Reports among the Issues Raised
Cook County Board Finance Committee Meetings on the Budget
October 25, 2022
Cook County Health (“CCH”) – Presented by CCH CEO Israel Rocha. Jr.
Miller: Addressing the issue of the new Change Institute, said that she was pleased to see more focus on "preventive vs reactionary" care, and noted the increase of 44 new positions in this new Department. She particularly asked for goals and metrics from each of the Institute's funding sources [ARPA, Grants, County] and any other new programs using ARPA and County funding.
CEO Rocha responded to a question about the behavior health goals using ARPA funding stating that there are two big categories:
Next came Miller's question on the Juvenile Justice Care Coordination Program to be funded by ARPA. Two Care Coordinators will be hired for reentry and transition stabilization.
When asked about the ongoing long-time issue of low patient satisfaction ratings, Rocha noted that the HIV Core Center has a great reputation and rhetorically asked "how can we use its experience?"
Degnan: Wants the system to communicate more broadly that CCH is a safe home for reproductive health. Said that a specific brochure is needed focusing on the System's services. Rocha responded that he would send her the communication tools currently in use.
Anaya: Responding to Anaya's concern about the length of the hiring process, Rocha said that the System has hired 350 individuals in the last 150 days and that turnover is at its lowest level in 18-20 months.
Several other Commissioners noted that their questions had been covered by previous colleagues and also commended CEO Rocha on his command of the System's needs and his vision for CCH.
Assessor’s Office -– Presented by Assessor Fritz Kaegi
Carrying over from the meeting with the Assessor earlier, court oversight of the offices of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the County Clerk under the Shakman cases (which prohibit political considerations regarding most County personnel) was raised during these two meetings.
Following are more details from these meetings, along with the one with the Treasurer, who announced that she is expecting to receive the information for the 2nd installment property tax bills by November 11. If so, she said she would have bills posted on her web site and available for downloading and payment by November 15.
Treasurer - Presented by Treasurer Maria Pappas
Office of the Independent Inspector General -– Presented by Acting IIG Steven Cyranoski
Clerk of the Circuit Court - Presented by Circuit Court Clerk Iris Y. Martinez
County Clerk - Presented by Clerk Karen Yarbrough
Observers: Diane Edmundson and Priscilla Mims
Focus on Delays in Hiring and the New Pretrial Fairness Act at Cook County Board Budget Hearings - Property Tax Bills Expected to Be Issued by Thanksgiving
Cook County Finance Committee Meetings on the Budget
October 24, 2022, 12:30 pm-3:30 pm
Public Defender (“PD”) -- Presented by Public Defender Sherone R. Mitchell Jr.
2022 Proposed 2023
Budget 86.2 M 96.9 M
FTE 747 803
Mr. Mitchell’s main issue was the need to hire more attorneys so that the caseload for each lawyer can be reduced. Now it is above the average of other large city public defender offices. This office uses the County HR department, and it is taking 4-6 months from posting to start date for new attorneys. The PD has started an Immigration Unit Pilot program to help non-residents in immigration removal proceedings. The PD will establish a pretrial division to handle the extra work required by the Pretrial Fairness Act.
Commissioners Degnan and Gainer expressed concern about the length of time in the hiring process. Commissioner Gainer asked if the ARPA or Equity Funds could be utilized to help the situation. She also suggested the PD get its own HR hiring department like the State’s Attorney has. Commissioner Daily pointed out that the State’s Attorney was a separate office.
State’s Attorney -- Presented by Kim Foxx, State’s Attorney
2022 Proposed 2023
Budget 195.7 M 194.1 M
FTE 1,432 1,475
Ms. Foxx said the Office was ready for the Pretrial Fairness Act. She said that there has been a lot of mis-information about the law. Ms. Foxx is working with legislators to clarify the statute, and they hope to get the changes in during the veto session. The attrition in the Office is high but on a par with other State’s Attorney Offices. There are 107 vacancies out of 746 attorney positions. There are 237 total vacancies. It takes 3-4 weeks from job posting to a candidate starting.
Commissioner Gainer asked if there would be enough State’s Attorneys to handle the additional work required by the Pretrial Fairness Act. Commissioner Morrison asked how the process will be different in January. Ms. Foxx explained the changes and that the judge still has the power to hold an offender if he is a threat or a flight risk. Commissioner Morrison also asked Ms. Foxx to review the prosecution discretion policies that she has established in regard to retail theft and low-level drug offences. He also asked that she set up a commission with suburban police chiefs to discuss the policies, and she agreed to do that.
Commissioners Aguilar and Daley expressed concern about the high crime rate and its affect on the public. Ms. Foxx reviewed the high conviction rate of her office and said the issue is that there are low arrest rates.
Board of Review (“BOR”) -- Presented by Larry Rogers Jr. and Michael Carbonargi, two of the BOR Commissioners. Commissioner Tammy Wendt did not participate
2022 Proposed 2023
Budget 16 M 17.8 M
FTE 151 156
Mr. Rogers stated that the 2nd installment property tax bills will be issued by Thanksgiving and due by December 30th. He also stated that the BOR asked for an increase of 26 FTE, but were only approved 5 FTE. He said the appeals process for the BOR takes 10 months. Since they got the final township assessments in December instead of July last year, the tax bills were delayed for this year. Rogers expects the bills will be delayed next year, too. Mr. Rogers says that the BOR needs the extra staff to help with the processing delays.
Commissioner Dailey asked Finance Officer Annette Guzman to review the request for more staff. Commissioner Gainer asked about the progress in the adoption of the Tyler system and both Mr. Rogers and Mr. Carbonargi said she should ask the Bureau of Technology. Commissioner Daily pointed out that the BOR did not participate at the Technology Committee meeting last week. Mr. Rogers said they submitted an updated report.
Land Bank Authority --Presented by Director of the Land Bank Eleanor Gorski
2022 Proposed 2023
Budget 10.7 M 5.2 M
FTE 15 15
Ms. Gorski reviewed the activities of the Land Bank. 1200 properties were put back on the tax roles. The agency has a goal to reduce its aged inventory. It also has a grant of 5M from the Equity Fund to establish affordable housing on current Land Bank property. Commissioner Morrison asked who will make the decisions about those funds and it will be the Board of Directors of the Land Bank with community input.
Secretary to the Board of Commissioners -- Presented by Secretary Lynne Turner
2022 Proposed 2023
Budget 1.8 M 2.0 M
FTE 11 12
The office provides legislative support and information to County Offices and the public as well as maintains the County Archives and Records Office. There were over 1000 public comments to the Board meetings this year. They will begin closed-captioning of meetings and are exploring electronic voting, which is contingent on in-person meetings.
Observer: Kathi Graffam
Cook County Board Of Commissioners Meeting
October 20, 2022; 10:30 A.M.
The Board was asked to extend and to increase the recruiting and HR consultation services with Deloitte. The original contract was 11-8-2021 to 11-7-2022. The proposed extension would run 11-8-2022 to 11-7-2023. (Agenda Item 22-5170)
Additional Board Business Was Conducted With Little Discussion
The Board passed resolutions on the following items:
Observer: Georgia Gebhardt
Individual authors are credited at the end of each post.