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
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