Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's Smooth Move

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's Smooth Move

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!



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  • Of course, reports are that Gorman isn't so clean either.

    However, there does seem to be the universal mindset that public employees are like what CEOs say they are--you just have to raise their pay to competitive levels. If either could get jobs elsewhere, they would.

  • In reply to jack:

    Whether Gorman is or isn't - Public Sector Jobs are not equal to Private Sector Jobs. They never have been either. hasn't that always been the argument? The POTUS makes how much $$? What Preckwinkle did is no different than what she railed about. I wonder what that 40% would have been able to provide in services? A 40% raise today is out of line.

  • In reply to jack:

    Below is a press release Preckwinkle sent out when she was running for Cook County Board President. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

    August 24, 2009
    For Immediate Release
    Contact: Jessey Neves (562) 453-6342
    Today the Chicago Sun-Times has reported that patronage workers within the Cook County Forest Preserve District are receiving significant pay raises, despite the economic climate. Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, candidate for Cook County Board President, calls on the County to examine such irresponsible pay raises and institute a freeze going forward.
    There are a total of 38 Shakman-exempt positions within the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Of that total, the 28 employees who've been on the payroll since 2006 all got double-digit salary increases by 2008. Nine of them received salary increases of 19 percent or higher between 2006 and 2008. It was during this time that the County chose to raise property taxes in order to accommodate the pay raises. On average, the exempt employees were paid $98,071 last year.
    Furthermore, most of the Shakman-exempt employees (24 of 38) have contributed to the campaign funds of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger; his late father, former board President John Stroger; or the 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organizations that John Stroger controlled. The Strogers and the party organization have received a total of $49,870 in campaign contributions from the exempt employees since the mid-1990s.
    "For too long the Cook County Forest Preserve District has served as a dumping ground for County patronage hires, leaving the taxpayers to pick up the tab with property tax increases year after year. It's irresponsible government," said Preckwinkle.
    District spokesman Steve Mayberry responded that the current Shakman-exempt list is "intended to recognize the need for the president of Cook County and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County to have some confidential employees in leadership positions," reported the Sun-Times. Mayberry is also a Shakman-exempt employee who has given $3,905 to Stroger organizations.
    "This is another example of the lack of transparency and accountability plaguing County government. It is the responsibility of government, and its officials, to be accountable to the citizens it serves. Especially in this current economic climate, citizens deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent," remarked Preckwinkle.
    This lack of transparency and accountability regarding Shakman-exempt positions affects more than just the Forest Preserve District. President Stroger has consistently refused to disclose any information about the titles or salaries for the approximately 500 Shakman-exempt positions within the Office of the President.

  • In reply to Chicago1962:

    Well this definitively proves she is a hypocrite or that she didn't keep her money in the state but used a flack from Long Beach California (based on the phone number and a reverse lookup indicating that it is for a land line). However, that person appears now to be a county employee, according to a Google search.

  • In reply to jack:

    Ain't she sweet? Oh Shit That Was A Song.

  • In reply to Chicago1962:

    According to the Illinois State Board of Elections Mary Laraia and her husband Andrew Mooney have contributed over $9,000 to Preckwinkle thru the years. Check out her other outrageously paid staffers:

    Preckwinkle and Mary Laraia are shameless.

    Kurt Summers, 2016 flunkie pays him $182,000 of our taxpayer money for his salary

    Laura Lechowicz Felicione whose father was the biggest scumbag politician around. He had 5 public pensions and bragged about it. Little Miss Laura makes $172,000.

    Greg Wass $172,000
    Robin Kelly, lost $150 Million in Bright Start $172,000

    Tariq Malhance lost $68 Million in City Pension Funds to the Mayor's nephew makes $176,000

    Arnold Randall another 2016 flunki makes $167,000

    Jonathan Rothstein (mommy bundled big for Preckwinkle) makes $150,000

    Maria Saldana $150,000
    Derek Blaida a Daley hack $130,000
    Maria Coss $130,000
    John Keller who resides mostly in the musings of his head $116,000
    Karin Norington Reaves $112,000
    Ethel Coss $110,000
    Letty Close $110,000
    Carina Sanchez gets paid $103,000 for Community Outreach. Give me a break.
    Miss Tubby Jessey Neves gets paid $105,000 to write crappy press releases and give even crappier statements to the press

  • In reply to Chicago1962:

    Chi62 you get the Citizens Medal! Thank you for showing us all how many hacks are feeding from the trough. You made my day and proved my point.

  • In reply to maciric:

    You're welcome and keep up the good work

  • In reply to Chicago1962:

    Thank you! This is exactly what people need to "see"

  • In reply to maciric:

    So I guess that if any department that is in the black we can spend whatever is there? She's another one of those lake front liberals who talk out of their asses. How about we eliminate about half of these positions before they layoff all the people who fix things for cook county. Lay off notices were given out last week to tradesmen .Excellent work 1962. That's what we need numbers that tell the truth. Facts are always better than fiction. Turn the light of truth on and watch the rats scurry....

  • In reply to waterbill:

    Right on Water. Chi62's information is more valuable than any commentary. People look at numbers and begin to see the gravity right away. The fact that they lay off the people that "do the work" and keep "those who don't" is the rule isn't it?

  • In reply to waterbill:

    Thank God for Liz Gorman! She is absolutely the only one who is fighting corruption. Where are Fritchey, Gainor, Suffredin, Schnieder, Silvestrie, and Gosselin? These others need to wake up because voters in the 47th ward did....

  • In reply to brian21:

    Those others are asleep at the wheel because they have been given what they wanted already?

  • In reply to brian21:

    The voters woke up from the 45th ward too...hopefully this trend will continue

  • In reply to Chicago1962:

    I sure hope so Chi62. People must realize that the status quo is unsustainable.

  • In reply to Chicago1962:

    Neil Khare 2016 flunkie $98,000

    Samira Jali 2016 flunkie $78,000. And as a side note Sam please don't wear leggings -- you're a bit too big. People do not want to see your legs squeezed into a pair of leggings. Please be kind to others that have to see you.

    Marta Cerda $96,000
    Cynthia DeWitt $85,000
    Brandie Knazze $88,000
    Bob Ginsburg $96,000
    Stephen Kiraly $90,000
    Elvia Fernandez $88,000
    Paulette Brooks $79,000
    Sebastian James $76,000
    Aimee Ramirez $70.000
    and there's many more...

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