Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ran her campaign slamming Todd Stroger's penchant for rewarding his political cronies, but it appears that she is no different than her predecessor. To wit, Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman introduced several budget amendments, one of which would have killed a hefty pay raise for the new second-in-command at the Cook County Forest Preserve District. The new second-in-command, Mary Laraia, was a Preckwinkle hire and one of her campaign contributors.
Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman is suggesting that she was lured to a meeting with Toni Preckwinkle's staff on Wednesday and as a result, was not able to be present on the floor to offer a motion for discussion and subsequent vote on her amendments. Thus, Gorman's measure died in committee. It is also said that after Commissioner Gorman tried to revive the measures during a later budget meeting, it drew groans from the other commissioners. Preckwinkle, who presided over the meeting, didn't respond.
Hmm? Do you get the feeling that all of that reform talk was a bunch of bullshit? I sure do. It is hard to forget that Toni Preckwinkle has been part of the Machine Apparatus for years and surely has learned a few procedural tricks along the way. And that's why I call this Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's Smooth Move
As it stands, Mary Laraia will have a salary boost from $111,908 to $155,172. A 40% raise at a time when Toni Preckwinkle wants across-the-board cuts in areas that affect public safety and/or the prosecution of criminals. It doesn't matter if Mary Laraia is qualified or not for the job as far as I am concerned either. After all, its the damn Forest Preserve District we are talking about. The district has been a repository of patronage hiring and will remain so.
There was zero justification for that raise, except for maybe allowing a campaign contributor getting their money back multiple times over.
Toni Preckwinkle, and some of her in-tow commissioners like Peter N. Silvestri want to justify the raise by saying that the Forest Preserve District is in the black and that the raise doesn't increase taxes. That is exactly the flawed thinking that politicians have yanked our chains with all these years. As I see it, the Cook County Budget is made up by the sum of its parts - but it is still the same fu%king pot. You wonder why local and state government are burning more money than they are taking in?
Well, you have your answer.
If you thought Toni Preckwinkle was a reformer - think again!
Just more of the same old, same old!