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 Finance Committee
Departmental Budget Hearings: Day 2
October 26, 2021
Cook County Public Defender - presented by Sharone Mitchell and staff
Proposed 2022 Budget - $84,102,421 2021 Budget - $80,839,889
(Both include General Funds, Special Purpose Funds and Grant Funds)
Proposed 2022 - 750 FTEs 2021 - 700 FTEs
Presentation by Sharone Mitchell focused on 4 Challenges within the office.
Cook County Clerk - presented by Karen Yarborough
Proposed 2022 Budget - $76,502,087 2021 Budget - $56,472,352
(Includes Corporate Funds, Election Fund, Special Purpose Funds, Grant Funds)
2022 includes $8,823,854 allocated from the American Rescue Plan Special Purpose Fund
Proposed 2022 - 348 FTEs 2021 - 350 FTEs
Highlights of Presentation by Clerk Yarborough
Clerk of Circuit Court of Cook County - Presented by Iris Martinez and Staff
Proposed 2022 Budget - $125,285,335 2021 Budget - $120,480,906
(Includes General Funds, Special Purpose Funds and Grants)
2022 budget includes $4,345,794 allocated from the American Rescue Plan SP Fund
Proposed 2022 - 1479 FTEs 2021 Budget - 1386 FTEs
2022 includes 25 FTEs under the American Rescue Plan
Highlights of Presentation by Iris Martinez
Board of Review - Commissioners Larry Rogers, Michael Cabonargi, and Tammy Wendt
Proposed 2022 Budget - $15,686,657 2021 Budget - $14,072,527
2022 budget includes $1,064,256 allocated from the American Rescue Plan SP Fund
Proposed 2022 - 151 FTEs 2021 Budget - 142 FTEs
2022 includes 9 FTEs under the American Rescue Plan
Highlights of Presentation by Larry Rogers
Questions/Comments from the Cook County Board Commissioners
Item of Note:
Observer: Cynthia Schilsky
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
Individual authors are credited at the end of each post.