Cook County Board Committee Meetings
Jan. 24, 25, & 26, 2023
In several of the meetings of the Cook County Board Committees, Commissioners raised the need for more data and identifying up front what the goals and measures should be for determining whether particular programs were worth the expenditures. For example:
Other Items of Note:
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
Cook County Board Committee Meetings
October 19, 2022
Note: All items approved in Committee are expected to be passed at the Oct. 20 meeting by the Full Board concurring with the recommendations of the Committees.
Business & Economic Development Committee
Technology & Innovation Committee
Emergency Management & Regional Security Committee
Observer: Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board Finance Committee Meeting
May 11, 2022
The Commissioners agreed to consider a Substitute to replace the original version of a proposed ordinance to increase the salaries of all County elected officials. However, the Commissioners further agreed to delay voting on the merits of the Substitute to a meeting of the Committee to be held later this month. The League of Women Voters of Cook County, both in written and verbal testimony at this meeting had urged this delay in order to provide the public more time to review and provide input on this proposal. (Item 22-2825)
Under the Substitute
Cook County Commissioners Urge Stakeholder Unity not Finger Pointing to Deal with August Tax Bill Delay
Cook County Commissioners Finance And Technology Committees
Joint Meeting on April 25, 2022
The special meeting was held at the urging of Commissioner Sean Morrison to bring the key stakeholders together to get their commitment to work together on getting the 2nd installment tax bills out no later than mid-November 2022. Key were the chair of the Board of Review, the Chief of Staff of the Assessor’s Office, and the Chief Information Office, Bureau of Technology (BOT). The County Clerk’s Chief of Staff and Treasurer also provided comments.
Board of Review (BOR): Chair Larry Rogers stated he just received two days ago the remaining 70% of the required assessment information that his office needs to begin the appeal process for the 2021 assessments; that it will take his office 4-5 months at the earliest to process the appeals and get the information to the Clerk’s office to calculate the tax bill; which then goes to the Treasurer for printing, mailing, and collection. Mr. Rogers stated that his office ran largely by paper until 2015 when it converted to a digital appeal processing system [not the Tyler Platform]. He emphasized that he ran a parallel paper system to work out problems before relying solely on the digital platform. The BOR is not on the new Tyler System.
Assessor's Office (OA): The Chief of Staff, Sarah Resnick, who stated that she takes full responsibility for steering the input of property assessment data to the new Tyler Platform, stopped the parallel input of underlying data such as square footage to the decades old Mainframe Platform in July of 2021 after finding that the transfer of detailed data was almost impossible between the systems causing many errors and re-inputs. The Mainframe is the platform that the Board of Review has used for decades to obtain the needed information from the Assessor. The Chief of Staff contacted the BOR and the BOT to ask that they all work together to find a solution. A successful interface was developed, but it is the reason for the delay; and it was done without the BOR. In the meantime, the underlying information was already on the Tyler system; and the interface was offered to the BOR in September of 2021. However, it would require training of BOR technicians by the Assessor’s office; and the BOR declined, saying it has to be independent of the Assessor’s office.
Bureau of Technology (BOT): Tom Lynch was questioned as to his recommendation to run a parallel system between the new Tyler and the old Mainframe. He said he did make the recommendation. When asked if it was impossible to input the underlying data from Tyler to the Mainframe, he said it would be very difficult but not impossible. He also stated that the BOR was not included in the transition to the Tyler Platform as were all the other Stakeholders because the BOR used a 2015 Platform that was modern. He noted that not all systems can be replaced at the same time and that the best practice is to stagger rollouts. He said the “legacy system” which is the mainframe has to be retired. He also said that the interface is working.
Suggestions by Comm. Sean Morrison include: Increase Overtime; increase hearing staff; use retired staff on a contract basis; determine if an estimated tax bill for 2nd installment is possible. The Clerk’s Chief of Staff said that this is not a likely legal option but that he would investigate further.
Comm. Daley: Asked Mr. Rogers if the vast majority of bills can go out and the remaining that have been appealed go out later. Answer: No. The BOR needs one finite set of data. He did state that it is a good idea to bring former employees back under contract. However, with more help and more overtime, he does not believe that the five month delay in receiving the data can be made up. Daley also asked the Clerk’s chief of staff to contact the Finance Chief to see what can done to provide loans to small municipal taxing bodies if they are unable to get a bank loan.
Comm. Degnan: Encouraged BOR to get off the legacy mainframe platform so that the current issue doesn’t perpetuate.
Comm. Lowry: Asked if all three Stakeholders agreed that the 2nd installment tax bills can be out in mid-November. Answer: Yes, it is possible; but no guarantee. The Assessor’s office also stated that if it can get the information back from BOR in time, it can then meet the 2023 deadlines.
Comm. Britton: Asked if township assessors and assistant assessors could be trained to help the BOD process appeals. Answer: Would need the same system training as a new hire.
Several other Commissioners also commented or asked questions, all of which were duplicates of what is covered above.
There were six Public Speakers Representing the Following Organizations:
The Chicago Chamber of Commerce Illinois Realtors local Government Affairs Office
Western Spring’s Park District Palos Fire Protection Force,
Scofield Fire Department Building Owners and Managers Association
All were concerned about the delay in mailing the 2021 2nd Installment Tax Bills and its effect on their constituents and vulnerable Cook County homeowners.
Observer: Diane Edmundson
Cook County Board Finance Committee
Departmental Budget Hearings
October 25, 2021, Part Two
Public Administrator presented by Louis G. Apostal
Proposed 2022 Budget: $1,505,785 2021 Budget: $1,412,029
Proposed 2022 FTEs: 15 2021 FTEs: 15
Office of the Independent Inspector General presented by IG Patrick Blanchard
Proposed 2022 Budget: $1,945,869 2021 Budget: $1,874,663
Proposed 2022 FTEs: 19 2021 FTEs: 19
Cook County Treasurer presented by Maria Pappas
Proposed 2022 Budget: $11,951,584 (decrease of about $36,000) 2021 Budget: $11,987,500
Proposed 2022 FTEs: 72.5 (decrease of 5 FTEs) 2021 FTEs: 77.5
Highlights of Presentation:
Cook County Assessor presented by Fritz Kaegi
Proposed 2022 Budget: $33,778,110 2021 Budget: $31,120,615
(2022 includes $1,000,000 allocated from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA)
Both years include about $4,605,290 in Special Purpose Funds
Proposed 2022 FTEs: 276 2021 FTEs: 276
Highlights of Presentation
Karin Hribar - Observer
Individual authors are credited at the end of each post.