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Raid details emerge

Friday, Sep 22, 2006

First the city, then the state and then Cook County. Most of Illinois is now under federal receivership.

Let’s start with the Sun-Times:

FBI agents raided at least seven Cook County offices Thursday morning looking for evidence that officials were illegally doctoring tests or otherwise cheating to give government jobs and promotions to politically connected applicants. […]

FBI agents also appeared at Stroger Hospital, Oak Forest Hospital, the downtown Cook County Forest Preserve offices, Provident Hospital, Cermak Hospital and the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center to serve subpoenas for records.

The subpoena served on the Forest Preserve District requested information on employees whose hires were supposed to be free from political influence, said spokesman Steve Mayberry.

County attorney Laura Lechowicz Felicione said the other subpoenas and the search warrant served on the Human Resources Department sought the same information, though she refused to provide copies.

And the Tribune:

The investigation, quietly under way since late last year, burst dramatically into public view Thursday morning. The flurry of activity indicated that federal prosecutors are now taking a hard look at clout and hiring in Cook County, even as they are investigating state hiring by the Blagojevich administration and city hiring by the Daley administration.

The subpoenas seek documents related to “non-exempt” jobs, Steele said. Under a court order known as the Shakman decree, those positions are supposed to be filled on the basis of qualifications, not political influence.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 9:01 am:

    I’m trying to figure out how to say this nicely, but now that John Stroger has stepped down and is certainly in no position to stand for trial and certainly not serve time, what exactly are the feds after at Cook County? The chance to crack down on a bunch of mid-level mopes?

  2. - Captain America - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 9:11 am:

    It was never a question of if, but only when, the feds would get around to scrutinizing county government. These raida are not surprisng. There may be more problems at Cook County than anywhere else because it’s still stuck in the 1950’s.

    The Cook County Commissioners function like a village board - micromanaging everything -instead of setting policy and exercising effective oversight. It’s no way to run a $3 bilion operation. Sheer administrative incompetence/dysfunction is probably an even bigger problem than corruption.

    Despite my comments, I am not convinced that the fed’s apparent theory that all patrronage hiring should be illegal is valid. All political executives should have some latitude to hire competent and qualified friends and supporters.

    There is no question that the County has routinely violated the Shakman decree. But my view is that there should be a larger number of Shakman-exempt or Rutan-exempt positions so that political executives should have hiring flexibility, if job candidates meet basic education and experience standards related to a particular job.

  3. - Captain America - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 10:12 am:

    In response to YDD’s query: Some legal pain is a prerequisite for reforming Cook County government - because the system appears to be impervious to change absent negative legal sanctions.

    Quote from Forest Claypool in today’s Tribune story: “County government has been a patronage dumping ground for years, a place where unqualified politically connected people have been dumped by the thousands… It’s sad that reform at the county government is likely to come through the law enforcement rather than the political process. We’ve known about these problems for years, and very little has been done about it.”

    I stayed out of the County Board President this time out of respect for the elder Stroger and several Committeeman whom I work with. But I voted for Claypool.

    The decision criteria used by the Cook County Democratic Committee to anoint the younger Stroger effectively proved that the system would not reform itself.

    Nonetheless, I am supporting Todd Stroger in November, because I don’t think Tony Peraica is the right man for the job. I prefer a moderate/or liberal to a very conservative Republican ideologue, who would probably take a meat axe approach to the County budget and related administrative problems instead of a scalpel. Effective reform requires a skillful manager/surgeon rather than an ideologically-driven zealot so that county goverment can continue to fulfil its mission of furnishing medical services to poor/uninsured people who have no other options.

    Actually, I think the feds are doing the younger Stroger a favor by conducting these raids before he takes over. He can legitimately claim that he has no involvemnet or repsonsibility for the his father’s administration.

    Much like Mike Quigley,I’m willing to wait for more years for a real reformer instead of an ideologue.

  4. - Observant - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 11:37 am:

    Lost in the hub-bub over the FBI raid is a story in the Daily Southtown, “Todd Stroger vows to clean up juvenile jail.” Todd boldly says he’ll fire the entire top management–unless he doesn’t. Todd goes on to explain that he’ll accept everyone’s resignation but then decide who stays and it’s his “sincere hope” that not everyone needs to go. And he thinks the superintendent is doing a good job.

    And Mike Quigley says that’s HIS plan and now he thinks Stroger is a reformer!

    You would have thought that after yesterday, these guys would finally see it’s time for a top to bottom housecleaning, not a wishy-washy, “I MIGHT fire the people behind all these scandals.”

  5. - Snidely Whiplash - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 11:38 am:

    Laura Lechowicz Felicione??? $114k per year job??? Gee, do you think she’s related to Ted Lechowicz? Just how man Lechowicz’, Strogers, Steeles, Moreno’s, Daleys etc. “work” for the county? Just where could that peksy deficit be coming from??? Hmmm …

  6. - Skewed Political Process - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 1:19 pm:

    To: Captain America


    “The decision criteria used by the Cook County Democratic Committee to anoint the younger Stroger effectively proved that the system would not reform itself. Nonetheless, I am supporting Todd Stroger in November….”


    Peraica would not be my first choice either, but, as the saying goes, any port in the storm will do.

    “Actually, I think the feds are doing the younger Stroger a favor by conducting these raids before he takes over.”

    No, the feds aren’t doing a favor for Todd. They are doing a favor for us, the taxpayers. It’s a shame that the feds must step-in to do what weak willed members of the electorate, such as you, failed to do all these years: vote the corruption out of office rather than succumbing to your liberal guilt and misguided party loyalty.

    Thank goodness people with your leanings were not in power during the 1940’s because I find German to be a harsh sounding language.

    WAKE UP!!!

  7. - Candid Voter - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 3:00 pm:

    I think every democratic committeeman who supported John Stroger should be held accountable for the corruption at Cook County. Mike Madigan, Mayor Daley, Dick Durbin, Tom Hynes, Tom Lyons, Rod Blagojevich and others who perpetuate a culture of political corruption should be held accountable for this mess and the fact that they stuffed Todd Stroger down our throats. Now the voters have to make a choice between the lesser of two evils. Republican and Democrat the whole system stinks! Even worse, a guy I thought was a reformer and who I supported, Mike Quigley, turns out to be a complete phoney. What a lousy week!

  8. - Huh? - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 4:18 pm:

    Candid Voter, you thought Mike Quigley WASNT a phoney? What a joke. He has no loyalty or backbone.

  9. - Quigley staff - Friday, Sep 22, 06 @ 4:21 pm:

    But Peraica is personally oppossed to abortion and he doesn’t believe in gay marriage
    and he is a mean, big male and he is bad
    and he is a Republican and we should vote against him

  10. - Steve - Saturday, Sep 23, 06 @ 2:38 am:

    Cook County is being exposed for what it is: a large scale racketeering operation to exhort money from taxpayers.Why does Cook County have such high taxes? Because thousands of government workers vote in a coalition to support the politicians who will overpaid them.This really is a racketeering enterprise.I hope any who’s applied for a job at Cook County sues the county under RICO.Honest taxpayers will come to realize getting Cook County into a Chapter 9 bankruptcy is the real way to clean of the government.Why does the county need to sit on thousands of acres of land? How many Roti family members are on the county payroll? How many people to John Daley get on the payroll?

  11. - PERAICA SUPPORTER - Saturday, Sep 23, 06 @ 8:50 am:

    I am voting for Peraica

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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