Cook County Board Finance Committee Mid Year Budget Hearings
July 20, 2021
Presentations - Cook County State’s Attorney, County Clerk, and Board of Review
Cook County State’s Attorney, Kimberly Fox
Cook County Clerk’s Office, presented by Chief Deputy Clerk Cedric Giles
Board of Review, presented by Commissioner Larry Rogers, with Commissioners Michael Cabonargi and Tammy Wendt
Cook County Board Finance Committee Departmental Budget Meeting
Friday, November 6, Morning Session
State’s Attorney Budget:
$176,585,418 (2021)-$161,837,454(2020) = increase of $14,747,964
1,401.4 FTE’s (2021)-1,362.2 FTE’s (2020) = an increase of 39.2
Cook County Clerk Budget:
$58.590M (2021)- $58.070 M (2020-includes Recorder’s Budget from 2020) =increase of $520,000
350 FTE’s (2021)- 386.8(2020- includes Recorder’s FTEs from 2020) =decrease of 36.8
Chicago Board of Elections Budget (note: the City of Chicago provides a large portion of the monies for this Board’s operation during even years, and all but the cost of the 4 FTEs during odd-numbered years):
$1,248,144 (2021)-$22,770,124 (2020) =decrease of $21,521,980
FTE’S 4.0 (2021)-4.0 FTE’s (2020) =no difference
Highlights of the State’s Attorney Budget Meeting:
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx highlighted work done in fiscal year 2020:
The State’s Attorney’s office is well aware of the budget restraints during these difficult times and they are working to prioritize prosecuting violent crimes especially unlawful use of guns.
The Commissioners did not ask many questions about the budget. Commissioner K. Morrison wanted to know why there was a nine-person reduction of personnel in the Felony Review Unit (this Unit works with law enforcement agencies to review felonies cases.) Kim Foxx stated that they went from a two shift 12-hour seven day a week to three shifts. They found that they did not need as many personnel in each shift as they did when it was a 12-hour shift, so they were able to cut positions but not the effectiveness of the Unit. Commissioner Degnen commended the State’s Attorney’s office for a well-organized budget. She questioned the increase in operating funds. Kim Foxx stated that this was due to Grants they received for programs.
Commissioners Aguilar, Suffredin and Degnen questioned the expungement of marijuana cases. Foxx stated that due to COVID there has been a slowdown of these cases. But they are making progress. To date they are working to process 300 cases, working twice a week.
Commissioner Sims wanted to know about the issue concerning retail theft and whether people are being prosecuted. Foxx is trying to work with local municipalities to handle some of these cases as it takes a lot of time for the Assistant State’s Attorneys to prosecute and sometimes the defendants do not show up in court. She emphasized they are being prosecuted despite what was heard in the news. Foxx stated they would rather focus on gun cases.
Commissioners Suffredin and Britton both praised the Civil Division of the States Attorney ‘s office. They both said it does not get noticed like the Criminal Division.
Of interest Foxx stated that Cook County Attorney’s office is the second largest office in the US, LA County being the largest. LA only handles felonies. Cook County handles Felonies, misdemeanors, Civil cases, child support cases and Juvenile Delinquent cases. A big case load to handle.
Highlights of the Cook County Clerk’s Budget Meeting
This was a challenging year for the Election. Despite COVID-19, Clerk Karen Yarbrough reported that her office worked tirelessly to make sure this election went well. Clerk Yarbrough thanked Toni Preckwinkle and the Procurement staff for all of their help to make sure there was PPE and equipment available at all polling places. This was a record-breaking election. Yarbrough divided her discussion into two parts: the Election and the Assumption of the Recorder of Deeds’ duties into the Cook County Clerk’s office.
Highlights of The Chicago Board of Elections Budget Meeting
It was announced that Lane Gough, Executive Director of the Board of Elections will be retiring. His assistant, Charles Holiday will be replacing him. All commissioners wished him well.
Marisol Hernandez, Chair of the Board of Elections reported the following:
Commissioner Degnen questioned a line item, Contingencies & special Purposes page B-4 of the budget. It shows $900,000-line item taken out of the budget. Executive Director Gough stated that he believed this was a Grant that is finished but he will get back to the Board.
Observer: Nancy Marcus
Cook County Board Committee Meetings
October 21, 2020 - Committee Meetings were held from 9:30am-2:30pm
Items of Interest:
Health & Hospital Committee:
Agenda Item 20-4191 - Final Report on Merger of Recorder of Deeds Office with the Office of the County Clerk
Cook County Board Of Commissioners Meeting
October 22, 2020 Meeting Length - 3 hours 15 minutes
Key Items Addressed by the Board:
Agenda Item 20-4204
Mr. Israel Rocha, candidate for the Cook County Hospital’s CEO position,
received the blessing of the Cook County Board on October 22, 2020. His
offer package included a base salary of $650,000 plus a 10% performance-
based annual bonus opportunity. The industry’s standard severance package
of one year was reduced to 20 weeks. CCH Board President officially intro-
duced Mr. Rocha, though he had met most of the 17 Commissioners prior to
this meeting. While taking longer than the expected six months to identify
and vet the final candidate, it appears that the Cook County Board and the
Hospital Board are in strong agreement that they have found the right person.
Mr. Rocha has experience in all of the responsibility areas he will assume as
CEO, including: Public Health, A Managed Health Care Plan, Forensic Medi-
cine and an Ambulatory Care Network.
In his remarks, Mr. Rocha said that he wants to create a leading model of care
for Cook County. He offered the following six goals toward that end:
1. Operate a safe and clinically sound system of care
2. Responsive to patients’ needs
3. Take bold steps by breaking barriers to achieve equity and inclusion
4. Ensure fiscal and financial resilience
5. Be known as the employer of choice and the provider of choice
6. Be known as a leader in the advancement of medicine as a human right.
Agenda Item 20-3562 The Board voted a substitute for the Proposed Landlord Tenant Ordinance
and then discharged it from the Finance Committee and referred it to the
Zoning & Building Committee. This ordinance is meant to establish the same
rights for all renters and tenants throughout suburban Cook County as those
currently enjoyed by citizens of Chicago, Evanston, and Mt. Prospect.
Agenda Item 20-4872 A resolution was passed stating the Clerk of the Court should collect $150 on
all mortgage foreclosure filings to be used to support a plan to save residents
from eviction and mortgage foreclosures. The Illinois Supreme Court authorized
the collection. Passed unanimously.
Agenda Item 20-4814 The Board unanimously passed a resolution to forgive loans made by the
County under the program established to deal with Covid. The County can use
CARES money from the federal government as long as it is done before the end
Agenda Item 20-3431 The Board approved appointment of Joseph M. Harrington to the CCH Board.
Agenda Item 20-4202 The Board passed an ordinance by President Preckwinkle to establish a
Property Assessed Clean Energy Program & Area. It is to finance the acqui-
sition, construction, installation or modification of energy projects.
Agenda Item 20-4684 The Cook County Board honored Dorothy Brown on her retirement from 20years of service as the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Commissioners praised the Coronavirus report (9-30-20) as a great resource. The distribution
of funds was broken down into four areas: 1) direct costs, 2) workplace redesign, 3) economic
development and 4) grants to local governments (due by October 31).
Observers: Georgia Gebhardt and Diane Edmundson
Cook County Commissioners - Board and Committee Meetings
July 27, 29 and 30, 2020
Key items passed by the Board:
Other Items of Interest Discussed in Committees:
Items to watch for at next Committee meetings, likely during the week of Sept. 21:
Note: The Cook County Board and most of the Board Committees are not scheduled to meet again until week of Sept. 21, though Commissioner Suffredin wanted the public to know that everyone is still working and Commissioners continue meeting virtually in small groups (so as not to violate the Open Meetings Act) each Sunday with key County personnel.
Observer - Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board of Commissioners - Finance Committee
Departmental Budget Hearing
October 30, 2019:
Commissioners Absent: Deer, Gainer, Tobolski, Sean Morrison
Clerk of the Circuit Court: Dorothy Brown
Recorder of Deeds: Ed Moody
County Clerk: Karen Yarborough
Office of Inspector General: Patrick Blanchard
Recorder of Deeds Tells Cook County Board that Talks Have Not Yet Begun Concerning Merger with County Clerk's Office
Cook County Board Finance Committee - Budget Hearings
Oct. 23, 20018 afternoon session
Cook County Land Bank
Cook County Clerk
Recorder of Deeds
Commissioners Present: Daley, Boykin, Silvestri, Morrison, Goslin, Schneider, Gainer, Moody and Deer.
As the observer for this meeting, I was struck by 2 things. The reports went extremely quickly especially compared to last year. This year no department took over 20 minutes as compared to well over an hour each last year. Also the commissioners asked very few substantive questions. Mostly they had comments and compliments for the heads of each department.
Highlights of each department include:
Cook County Land Bank
Director Rob Rose explained the mission of the land bank is to buy up abandoned and foreclosed properties and resell them to potential owners at reduced prices. The main group of buyers for these properties are homeowners. The main geographic areas of focus are the west and south sides of Chicago and the southern suburbs. When no buyers can be found, the Land Bank is responsible for upkeep of the property including lawn care and snow removal.
Some of their successes include:
Cook County Clerk:
David Orr explained that his office is not just about elections, though it seems that way at this time of the year. His office handles tax revenue collection from over 1500 separate taxing bodies in Cook County. And if you want to get married in Cook County his office provides the certificate.
During his tenure as Clerk, Mr. Orr cited some successes:
Commissioner Silvestri thanked him for making a paper back- up ballot mandatory when using the touchscreen.
Commissioner Schneider said that he has defended the Clerk’s performance vehemently over the years whenever the right wing of his party criticized him.
Lots of good luck wishes could be heard as he left the room.
Recorder of Deeds
Karen Yarbrough said that her office always brings in more money than she spends. Since she took over in 2012 her numbers of FTE’s are down 50%. Some of her successes include:
Commissioner Morrison asked about the merger between her office and the clerk’s office. She said that no talks have begun yet on formulating a plan for the merger. In other counties, she said the county boards have given out plans for such a merger, but she has not received any instructions from this board. But she has plans to get the 2 staff groupings together early next year. David Orr has also promised to help with this process. She has a team in place to instruct her on the workings of the Clerk’s office.
Observer - Jan Goldberg
Individual authors are credited at the end of each post.