Cook County Board of Commissioners
Committee and Consent Agenda Meetings
January 15, 2020
During the Consent Agenda Meeting the Board honored the League of Women Voters in recognition of its 100th anniversary on February 14, 2020. President Preckwinkle and Commissioners noted the many suggestions from the League over the years to improve the operations and transparency of the government, as well as the presence of League observers at most Cook County Board and Committee meetings.
The following actions by the Committees are subject to Board approval at the January 16 Board meeting:
Observer - Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board of Commissioners Meeting
December 19, 2019
The Board devoted the first 2 hours of their meeting to the honoring of retiring employee Martha Martinez, former Commissioner Jerry Butler, and the late Reverend Clay Evans. Testimonials lauded Martinez for thirty-four years of exemplary service. Former Commissioner Jerry Butler received a touching tribute from the Board. HIs career as a popular vocal artist and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was noted. Commissioner Butler sang one of his hits, “Let It Be Me” to the delight of all present. The late Reverend Clay Evans was honored as an icon of the black community and for his work on civil rights with Dr. Martin Luther King.
Commissioners Daley, Deer, Suffredin, Arroyo, Sylvestri, Gainer and Moore thanked Dr. Shannon (CCH) for his service to Cook County Health. Dr. Shannon was present and acknowledged their kind words.
Observer - Georgia Gebhardt Meeting Length: 3 hours, 20 minutes (includes 40 minute lunch break)
Cook County Board of Commissioners - Committee Meetings
December 18, 2019
Dr. Terry Mason, CEO Cook County Department of Public Health, reported on an initiative to address food purchases made throughout the offices and departments of Cook County government. This includes Stroger Hospital, County Jail, Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and others. After assessing costs, vendors, quality of food for healthy eating, etc., the program will promote sustainability, economic development, using local food growers, good quality food and other healthy eating goals. The power point presentation of this program is available on cook-county.legistar.com
Other topics discussed and/or passed by the various committees:
Observed by Karin Hribar
Cook County Board of Commissioners Committee Meetings
Nov 20, 2019
Highlights from the meetings:
Commissioner Silvestri stated that at the Litigation Subcommittee meeting on Nov 19, the compliance administrators gave a positive report that the Assessor's office is moving quickly, the Clerk of the Court's pace has picked up and the Recorder of Deeds is at a good point in achieving compliance with the Shakman decrees. The next status update to the Litigation Subcommittee will be Feb 2020. It was hoped compliance would be achieved for the Recorder of Deeds before its merger with the Clerk's office, Dec 1, 2020.
Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee
Representatives from the Recorder of Deeds and Clerk's office presented a status update on their merger (agenda item 19-6178). Agreements have been made between the two regarding open dialog/communications and information sharing. Work groups have been established. Areas of early consolidation discussed were procurement and financial (merging bank accounts). Commissioner Suffredin suggested that the Recorder of Deeds and Clerk meet with the League of Women Voters as he said this outside group has continued to send questions regarding the merger process and were involved in the Nov 2016 referendum.
Rules and Administration Committee
The Just Housing Amendment, that Cook County's housing providers do not discriminate against individuals with a criminal history/convictions when they apply for housing, was passed spring 2019 by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Interpretive rules for this Just Housing Amendment have been worked out over the past months. The Proposed Second Substitute to agenda item # 19-4770 on file (regarding the Just Housing Amendment Interpretive Rules) was adopted. The motion to receive and file the adopted Proposed Second Substitute 19-4770 was passed which sends the rules to the full Cook County board of Commissioners for final approval. There were many groups at the committee meeting presenting views on affordable and fair housing, criminal justice, disabilities and racial discrimination since historically individuals with a criminal history/convictions have a history of not obtaining safe and stable housing.
Observed by Michele Niccolai
Cook County Budget Hearings End with Review of the Capital Budget and Review of Chief Judge's Budget
Cook County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee
Last Day of Departmental Budget Hearings
Public Hearing, Review of The Capital Budget and the Chief Judge’s Budget
November 4, 2019
Public Hearing on 2020 Executive Budget: There were about 20 speakers over a 2-hour period. The main subjects were
Review of Capital Budget:
Review of the Budget for the Chief Judge:
Chief Judge Timothy Evans answered questions for the different areas under his supervision, including the Adult Probation Department (which encompasses pre-trial services such as electronic monitoring, as well as supervising some sentenced offenders), the Judiciary, the Public Guardian, Forensic Services, Social Services, Juvenile Probation, and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (for those awaiting trial). The Chief Judge pointed to his web site, www.cookcountycourt.org where performance metrics and other data may be found.
Observed by Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board Finance Committee Meeting and Board Meeting November 21, 2019
After the Finance Committee considered and passed 15 amendments to the proposed budget, the Cook County Board then passed the 2020 budget, as amended. (Item 19-5916) by a vote of 15 yeas, 1 nay, and 1 absent. The one negative vote was cast by Commissioner Sean Morrison who expressed concern over the total size of the budget and how it has more than doubled since 2011. He said that he would have preferred to maintain the amount budgeted for 2019 and use the additional revenues to further bolster the pension fund. Commissioner Morrison did not, however, offer any amendments to do so. Commissioner Tobolski was absent, as he was throughout the budget meetings.
The 15 amendments that were passed added an additional $23 million to the proposed budget which came from:
Chairman Daley and Commissioner Silvestri thanked a number of people at the end, including the League for observing the budget meetings and providing questions for a number of departments.
Observer: Priscilla Mims
Individual authors are credited at the end of each post.