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Steele reacts to Sun-Times by ousting clout figure

Tuesday, Aug 22, 2006

This is quite a lede.

Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele asked the county’s patronage chief Gerald Nichols to clean out his office just outside her own Friday because she could not figure out exactly what his official job was.

The Sun-Times on Monday reported county officials saying that for years Nichols called them to plug politically connected people both for policy positions — which is allowed — and also for lower-level jobs, which by court order are supposed to go to job applicants who score well on tests.

“I had a meeting with him Friday and removed him from his position,” Steele said. “He explained to me that his role when he worked for President [John] Stroger was to sort his mail, prioritize invitations and to sometimes serve as a surrogate for the president. Well, I don’t need him to do that.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - annoyed all the time - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:14 am:

    Ohhh you have good stuff up today. Good for her. Would love to know how much he was paid for that job. Keep going Ms. Steele. Don’t stop there, and certainly don’t go there and you will go down in Cook County history for being willing to step up.

  2. - Anon. - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:21 am:

    Wait a minute….Nichols made $114,000 a year to sort mail and prioritize invitations. Unbelievable.

  3. - Don Sloan - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:28 am:

    Great Job, Mrs. Steele, continue cleaning up Cook County and also if you can telll Toddler to find another position, since he see’s nothing wrong with Nichols jobs performance and salary!

  4. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:30 am:

    My understanding was that Nichols was moved elsewhere in the bureaucracy, no doubt at the same salary.

    Steele’s job is to clean up the most visible problems before the Toddler gets there in December. Taxpayers are supposed to believe that this consistutes massive reform of the extraordinarily corrupt County government. It doesn’t.

    Steele will be handsomely rewarded for doing this via the large pension increase she gets if she leaves in December.

  5. - anon - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:34 am:

    Note that he is alleged to have been Stroger’s patronage chief, and Steele has stated that she believes that may have been part of his job. It is very difficult to believe that Steele does not know him and exactly what he “does” there. Note also that Steele has not removed him from the county highway department’s payroll, just out of his office. So now, he’s getting paid to do absolutely nothing. So what, exactly, has Steele actually DONE about this man???

  6. - HANKSTER - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:38 am:

    Kinda funny since he was probably the one that hired her four family members on the county payroll.

  7. - I didnt' hear this - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:46 am:

    Did Tony Periaca call for his Son Markos’s Resignation today…

  8. - Anon. - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 11:59 am:

    Peraica’s kid makes $26,000 a year with the clerk of the court (he’s not employed by the county, per se); big, fat, hairy deal. If Peraica could and did clout his kid onto the county payroll, I think he’d be making more like the $80,000 plus all 4 of Steele’s kids are making.

  9. - Chick McGann - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 12:41 pm:

    Excuse it all you want, but Tony Peraica DID use his influence to land his son a job, and yes, the Clerk of the Courts jobs are county jobs. $26, $2600, $26,000 or $260,000. Whatever. It’s STILL TAXPAYERS’ DOLLARS! Tony is a hypocrites’ hypocrite. Tony should use some of the money he loaned himself, what 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS to land an $85k job to pay his son if he wants him to be gainfully employed. I’d prefer that he not use MY money instead.

  10. - Tom - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 12:57 pm:

    Steele’s bump in pension for just a few months as Pres, as well as all her relatives on the county payroll, are bothersome. Her removal of Nichols from his patronage position is refreshing. She should earn the pension increase with more housecleaning before Todd Stroger gets there. He won’t rock the boat.

    For all the Dems who say they are crossing over to vote Peraica, I don’t believe it. For most of them it’s tough talk months before the election. When they enter the booth they will revert to loyal serfs they are and vote for the man with the magic (D) after his name. For any real reform to occur in government blind loyalty to either party must be discarded.

  11. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 1:10 pm:

    Good to see Steele doing some clean-up.

    Peraica’s silence on the hiring of his son at the County is deafening.

  12. - C'mon - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 1:21 pm:

    It’s all window dressing. Steele will just replace Nichols with her own toady who will do the same “job” that he did at the same price. So now we’ll have two people doing nothing for $114,000 each. And when she leaves, Toddler will bring Nichols back and send Steele’s person out. Bank on it.

  13. - HANKSTER - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 1:25 pm:

    I guess I will change my negative outlook on the above mentioned family hirings until someone can show that these people are not qualified or are overpaid for what they do. I think now it seems to early attack them just because of who their family is.

  14. - Garp - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 1:50 pm:

    THis guy is now making $114,000 to do nothing as far as I can tell and Steele won’t dare fire him unless he is indicted because she has to protect her people when the next prez comes along. Another words, this is a joke and a total waste of taxpayers money.

  15. - Give Me a Break - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 5:24 pm:

    Steele pulled a slick one on the press. The Sun-Times headlne said that Stroger’s patronage chief got the boot, and you had to read all the way to the middle of the story to find out that he simply got his offices moved upstairs! He’s just a few feet away, still collecting his $114,000 a year salary. Is that reform?

    The press needs to open its eyes. If Steele is “cleaning things up,” why didn’t she let him go? Is it because that same patronage chief arranged for her 4 kids to be placed on the county payoll?

    So spare me the misleading headlines and stories. Steele just took the heat off herself without doing anything, and the press bought it!

    Give me a break!

  16. - IDOT PRO - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 6:00 pm:

    Guess Nichols will be joining the HELM @IDOT soon to join the rest of his County hack-do-nothings.

  17. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 6:20 pm:

    With corruption like this, I’m glad that I’m a member of the Illinois Green Party.

  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 6:59 pm:

    there seems to be a presumption around here that if you have a relative on the payroll, that is ipso facto corruption. Is that the standard? Shouldn’t there at least be some evidence that the person was not qualified and/or you used undo influence to get them hired before making slurs about corruption?

  19. - Patrick McDonough - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 7:52 pm:

    Where is John Daley in all this? Selling Insurance?

  20. - Enough - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 8:24 pm:

    This farce needs to end. The shenanigans at the County Board almost seem like something akin to the carpetbagger period in the Reconstruction Era South.

  21. - Concern Citizen - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 8:33 pm:

    While our property tax goes up up and up we sit and watch unflod. I have been a Dem all my life. We need to send a message to the Dem party. Thye work for us. I beg everyone to push for a change and stop this maddness. Mayve T.P. isn’t the best choice but as a taxpapyer I think he is our only choice. While we struggle to pay these taxs the fat cats “stoger clan” feed off us like rats. Lets stop the maddnes remove SToger and everything he stands for

  22. - Countee Mountee - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 9:24 pm:

    Gerald was one of the few who actually knew how to keep the county running. Odds are Fasst Eddie V’s pal Fast TonyP would have kept him on board. Look for chaos

  23. - Snidely Whiplash - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 9:42 pm:

    I agree with Give Me a Break. Countee Mountee, please gimme some of whatever you be smokin’, Bro!

  24. - Anno-yed - Tuesday, Aug 22, 06 @ 10:10 pm:

    Considering the subject, Chaos would be a considerable improvement. Dig man, here comes Mack-the-Knife.

  25. - Fred Ziffel - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 12:08 am:

    Still waiting to hear the governor has fired all his offending patronage-pushing goons, all caught with their hands in the state till.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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