Mid-Year Budget Hearings of the Finance Committee of the Cook County Board
July 17 and 24, 2019
Over these 2 days, the Finance Committee (composed of all 17 members of the Board and chaired by John Daley) met with each elected official, bureau chief and major department head to go over the expected revenues and expenses at the end of the 2019 budget year (Nov. 30, 2019), and what was expected for 2020.
Highlights from these meetings:
Overall: It is expected that the County will end this fiscal year in the black, and no new taxes or fees will be needed to balance the budget for the upcoming 2020 fiscal year.
Cook County Health (CCH):
Chief Judge: Asked to respond to Chicago Supt. of Police’s claim that too many people are being arrested for violent crimes and being released on electronic monitoring, Chief Judge Timothy Evans provided these statistics:
Sheriff: Questions raised as to why, with significant reduction in daily jail population (from 11,000/d a few years ago to 5,600 to 5,900/d now) there hasn’t been more cost reductions in Sheriff’s budget for the jail.
Public Defender: While will not exceed budget for 2019, PD Amy Campanelli said that will be pushing for more money than President’s Office wants for 2020, in part to start an immigration unit with 4 new staff members. These would represent those charged with crimes (whom they are representing anyway in State courts in Cook County) at Federal immigration detention hearings. Cites statistic that have a 90% chance of no detention if have a lawyer and 90% chance of detention if do not. Would not work past detention hearing, but leave to pro bono immigration attorneys to handle the rest of Federal cases.
County Clerk (elections):
County Clerk and Recorder merger in December 2020:
Observer: Priscilla Mims
Cook County Board of Commissioners - December 12, 2018
Committees: Rules and Administration, Zoning and Building, Finance
Meeting Length: 2 hours
What did the Board decide?
What else did the Board discuss or refer to committee?
The following items were referred to these respective committees:
Legislation & Intergovernmental Relations Committee
Observer - Karin Hribar
Cook County Board Finance Committee - Departmental Budget Hearings
October 24, 2018
Cook County Assessor
Cook County Treasurer
Chicago Board of Elections
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Office of the Secretary to the Board
There were 10 Cook County Commissioners present.
Cook County Assessor: Joseph Berrios
The Commissioners thanked Assessor Berrios for his serve.
Cook County Treasurer: Maria Pappas
Maria Pappas, commented that tax bills are being sent out in a timely matter and more and more people are accessing their bills and paying their bills online. March Bills will be online in December. This has saved the county money. Commissioners pointed out that all of the IT work is done in house and this has saved the County money. They also noted that the Cook County Treasurer’s Website is very user friendly.
Chicago Board of Election: Lance Gough, Executive Director
Board of Elections is continuing to grow online registrations. There has been an increase of early voting in the city and a growing participation in Vote by Mail. Commissioners asked whether new voting machines would be ready for the February and April elections. Mr. Gough responded that they will not be ready and the City of Chicago will be using the same equipment that is being used for the November 2018 Election. New equipment will be ready for the 2020 Presidential Election. He is confident that the new equipment will be secure. There was also discussion concerning the lack of polling places and judges in the City. Chicago is moving towards Voting Centers. Condominiums and schools do not want to open their spaces for voting. He said that the Super Site on West Washington is working well.
Clerk of the Circuit Court - Dorothy Brown
Dorothy Brown commented that as of July 2018, e-Filing has become mandatory for all civil areas of law. This system has caused difficulties for the Clerk’s office as the staff has had to provide extra-specialized customer service assistants to both self-represented litigants and attorneys, in order for them to e-File successfully. The challenge is not having enough employees to help. The Commissioners suggested that perhaps they might need to charge for providing help. They also suggested that a printed quick reference card or TV presentation with directions as to how to use the system could be implemented. It was noted that this system was created first for smaller counties, and then implemented for use in Cook County. Dorothy Brown would like to hire more people but cannot until they meet the budget requirement concerning the furlough days.
Office of the Secretary to the Board - Matthew De Leon
Commissioners had suggestions for the Board meetings and the boardroom
Observer: Nancy Marcus (11:00-2:00 with an hour break for lunch)
Cook County Board of Commissioners Meeting - September 12, 2018
What the Board Decided:
The following Items were approved:
Observer - Jill Althage Meeting Length - 1 hour and 20 minutes (11:10am to 12:30pm)
Cook County Board Meeting, 12/16/15
Observed by: Nancy Marcus
Significant Decisions Made:
Item 16-0557 Cook County Board meeting schedule for 2016. The calendar was approved, there will be 15 meetings, 1 meeting per month including July and August and 2 meetings in the following months: March, June, and October.
Two items proposed by the Justice Advisory Council were approved:
Item 16-0574 an approved as amended resolution sponsored by Commissioner John Fritchey and Jesus Garcia. This is a request to the Cook County State’s Attorney to appear before a hearing of the Criminal Justice Committee to discuss the investigation and indictment in the LaQuan McDonald case. Commissioner Fritchey introduced an amendment to this resolution, waiving the 24-hour rule, to delete all reference to the LaQuan McDonald case and add that the State's Attorney appear to discuss the investigation and handling of alleged police misconduct matters. There was discussion as to whether this is an appropriate request. Gavin Ambose, Chief of Staff of the State's Attorney Office, stated an objection to this request..
Item 16-0420, is a report from David Orr, County Clerk and approved by the Commissioners regarding the proposed confirmation and appointment of Election Judges.
Item 15-5906 ordinance, Liquid Hazardous waste ordinance and fee. The Commissioners concurred with the Environmental Control Committee to approve this ordinance.
Significant Topics Discussed and/or Referred to Committee:
Item 16-0475 is a proposed ordinance sponsored by Commissioner Richard Boykin, This is to amend section 2-331 of the Cook County Guidelines for Special State’s Attorney pertaining to the prosecution of alleged offenses by members of the Police Department. Since there could be a presumption that the CC State’s Attorney has an interest in the case; therefore, the appointment of a Special State's Attorney should occur. This was referred to the Criminal Justice Committee.
Item 16-0577 proposed resolution sponsored by Commissioner Richard Boykin, calling on the Circuit Court of Cook County to appoint a Special State’s Attorney to handle the prosecution of Officer Jason Van Dyke. In light of the Tribune Editorial (Wednesday, December 16,2017) written by Chief Judge Timothy Evans, stating why he could not appoint a special prosecutor, this was referred to the Criminal Justice Committee.
Unexpected Votes, Events, Testimony or Items to Watch for in the Future:
Emily Harris, Executive Director of ADA 25 Chicago, testified in support of the renovations of the Cook County Board Room. Adam Baler of Access Living also testified in favor of the renovations.
Any Other Comments or Observations:
The meeting was 2 1/2 hours; 1 hour of the meeting was the Consent Calendar.
Individual authors are credited at the end of each post.