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 of Commissioners Finance Committee
Mid-Year Budget Hearings - July 28, 2020
Revenues - Revenue was $238,000; that is down $178,667 which is a 42.3% variance.
Expenses - Actual expenses were $59,343,256 which is variance of 4.3% ($2.7 Million)
Holdback Target - Holdback target achieved
Other information of interest:
Cook County Board of Commissioners - Finance Committee
Departmental Budget Hearing
October 29, 2019
Commissioners Absent: Tobolski, Arroyo, Gainer
Public Defender Office
Public Defender Amy Campanelli spoke for almost an hour describing her philosophy, goals and results. This office has 22 divisions with 693 total staff comprised of 5 in Mental Health, 5 in Mitigation, 109 support staff, 58 in management, 59 investigators and 457 attorneys. Three of these positions are grant-funded; 60% of staff are women and 40% are minorities. In 2018 this office handled about 10,000 felony cases and 90,000 misdemeanor cases.
State’s Attorney Office
Kim Foxx heads this office and gave a brief overview and answered several questions from the commissioners. This office has hired a new Chief Data Officer to assemble and analyze felony case data on the “dashboard” system. It is to improve performance since you “can’t fix what you can’t measure” and to provide transparency.
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 Finance Committee Departmental Budget Hearings
October 24, 2018
Commissioners Absent: Butler, Fritchey, Goslin, Gainer and Garcia.
State's Attorney (SA) Kim Fox stated that:
There was a question regarding the money spent on outside counsel, which is significantly different between inside or outside counsel. SA Fox asked for money to hire 16 attorneys (the number that was lost previously). This would allow her to decrease outside counsel and save money. Request is for $945,000 up to $1.3 million for FTE’s.
SA Fox discussed a felony review guidebook for Chicago Police Department with the goal to have consistency with charging.
Suffredin asked about the revenue generated from civil diversion: Narcotic forfeiture fund (modeled after New York) and the Records automation fund where money comes from the state. More money is not being generated because they don’t have enough resources.
SA Fox discussed community justice centers for the south and west sides. Idea is to invest resource in prosecutorial engagement. Prosecutor office is involved at the end of the process rather than front end. SA Fox wants more money for resources to put in crime reduction investment and prevention.
Observer - Laura Davis
Cook County Board Finance Committee - July 24, 2018
Midyear Budget Hearing - Day 2 - Morning Session
I arrived right at 9AM for the hearings and there were 2 commissioners present (Suffredin and Morrison) other than Chariman Daley. Seven more arrived by 9:30AM and 3 more by 11AM. Absent for the entire morning session were Commissioners Goslin, Gainer, Butler, and Fritchey. Commissioner Sims asked everyone the core mission of his or her department and if there was any waste to cut. She did this even when both questions were answered in the original presentation. Commissioner Morrison asked everyone what new taxes they would propose, if any. Most took no stand on this issue.
Board of Review (BoR): I came in just as their presentation was wrapping up, but I heard all of the questions.
The Assessor: This presentation and Q and A session was extremely short. It lasted maybe 15 minutes.
Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS): A short report was given to each commissioner.
State’s Attorney: Presentation was given by Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx.
Observer - Jan Goldberg
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