Cook County Board Finance Committee
Departmental Budget Meeting
State’s Attorney - Presented by Kimberly Foxx
Proposed 2022 Budget: $187,870,209 2021 Budget: $176,029.324
2022 includes $526,335 from the American Rescue Plan Special Purpose Fund
Proposed 2022 FTEs: 1,432 2021 FTEs: 1397.4
Highlights: 2021 Initiatives and Outcomes
Operational Opportunities: 2022 Initiatives and Goals
State’s Attorney Foxx’s Remarks
Foxx suggests that there are misunderstandings and even misinformation about how and when felony charges occur in Cook County. She explains the procedure:
Q Do you have any problem hiring staff?
A We do well in hiring. We target law students. There are challenges:
Q How is your budget striking the balance to help people feel safe but not criminalizing members of the community?
A We prioritize crimes of violence. In the past, resources were going to shoplifting and drug cases. For the last four years, we have focused on gun offenses. Narcotics cases have shrunk because these should be diverted to treatment. This allows more resources to go to violent crime.
Q There was a gunfight recently in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. There was a video. Why was no one charged? The mayor used the term “mutual combatants,” indicating that both sides of the incident should be arrested. Should they have been?
A The video did not capture the beginning of the conflict. Under the law, people do have the right to defend themselves—and so the beginning is important. In this instance, all of the witnesses said, “I want a lawyer.” The police and we agreed that we had not enough evidence. The mayor’s remarks were disappointing. Frustration cannot lead us to make bad choices.
Q How can we help address mental health needs?
A Too many mentally ill people are in jail. The felony review team sees that these are mental health situations. But when people go to Mental Health Court, they get more entangled in the system than they need to be. People should be deflected out of the system entirely. But the SA doesn’t have a mechanism to do that--we need robust treatment so that they don’t come to us at all. We have not been thoughtful about the role of trauma and mental health in gun violence. Children who suffer trauma have no access to social workers, therapy. They feel they are better off with a weapon. But a child with a gun easily overreacts, leading to tragedy. Our strategies have not been proactive but reactive We need to figure out how to bring services on the front end.
Q What about the budget for dealing with carjackings?
A The PA office cannot do anything until the police bring cases to them. The case-clearing by the police for carjackings is only about 12%.
Observer - Janet Kittlaus
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 of Commissioners Meeting
May 13, 2021
Attendance: all 17 commissioners were present. Meeting led by President Preckwinkle
Observed by: Kathi Graffam Meeting Length: 10am until 12:40 PM
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.
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