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Proviso Probe

Friday, February 16, 2007

GOV, Stroger vetoes county budget

A few days ago county commissioners crafted a budget that minimized cuts in services by cutting waste, especially unnecessary management positions. Today County Board President Todd Stroger (D-Eighth Ward) decided to veto the budget.

One of the things that makes the veto galling is that Stroger and his mentor, Commissioner Bill "Hog With Big Nuts" Beavers claimed that the budget process was legit. Stroger and Beavers were willing to incorporate cuts and improvements suggested by the commissioners.

Team Stroger made it difficult for commissioners to get a handle on the budget, so finding the waste wasn't easy. The commissioners did their job, but apparently they did it too well. They cut too much of the patronage and waste for Stroger's taste.

At a League of Women Voters forum last fall I learned what happens when the president vetoes the budget. Unless the commissioners can override the veto the president gets to write his own budget. And it takes 4/5 of commissioners to override the veto (14 of 17).

Daily Southtown (Steve Patterson) has an article discussing how during the campaign Stroger promised to support reducing the threshold, but now is quietly opposing the change. And Stroger denies saying he supported the change and he's deleted the press release from his website. Classy guy, huh?

Daily Southtown (Jonathan Lipman) has an article on Stroger's veto announcement.
Commissioners proposed to restore $73 million in cut services, including all 26 community health clinics, through a combination of new revenue and administration cuts. But Stroger said the administrators proposed for cuts are vital to the county.

“Their amendment … will destroy what (interim health bureau chief Robert) Simon is trying to do at the hospital,” Stroger said. “The county wouldn’t even run if we let that go through.”

For all those people who bad-mouthed Stroger's Republican opponent Commissioner Anthony Peraica, it now looks like more clinics in the hood would have stayed open under Peraica.

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  • I think Todd is fiscally responsible he wants cuts across the board, he just wants to be fair. Besides the MAJORITY of the
    people voted for him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 PM, February 16, 2007  

  • I remember a time when Republicans voted for local liberals in Illinois. They kept their perspective on issues and jurisdictions.

    I wish Democrats could do the same because a lot well meaing people cast a horrible vote Stroger.

    By Blogger Bill Baar, at 8:10 AM, February 17, 2007  

  • I have a good friend, a health professional, who has been a supervisor at County Hospital for 20 years -- with zero political connections -- and with a career spent in dedication to patients and in continuous conflict with the do-nothing/know-nothing political patronage army.

    The commissioners' budget was accompanied by a get-fired list --which includes my friend --- as well as EVERY other supervisor in his department.

    No need to weep for him -- he'll get another job right away -- but I don't think the performance of that hospital will be improved by this kind of mindless cutting.

    By Blogger chris miller, at 9:51 AM, February 17, 2007  

  • Refer to anon 6:55 PM as "I think Todd".

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 10:04 AM, February 17, 2007  

  • chris, I am sure the commissioners cut people that shouldn't have been cut.

    However, they were working with an inaccurate budget presented by the county board president. And it was constantly being updated. They were under time pressure. They did the best they could to improve Stroger's budget.

    Each of the commissioners has a staff of 2-4 people, or less. Not all of these people are trained in a accounting or any other discipline that would help them sort through a massive budget.

    The whole process has problems. And these problems haven't been fixed because the confusion makes it easier to hide the patronage and graft.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 10:08 AM, February 17, 2007  

  • Nice try Carl to protect the commissioners as you are completely and unapologetically anti-President Stroger. But Chris Miller's comment points out that the commissioner's proposed amendment is mindless. They basically attempted to put back every so-called "front-line health care provider" and law enforcement official and eliminate any perceived middle and upper management hanger on. Their proposal acts as if absolutely no waste exists in the hospitals, sheriff's office or state's attorney.

    It is unfair to let the biggest culprit of the budget gap (the healthcare system) escape without significant reorganization. The commissioners offered no amendments to their staffs while trying to eliminate many cabinet level appointees of President Stroger. The budget can't be balanced off of the President's administration alone. It's ridiculous to attempt to cut out administrators and keep the people they manage. Who are these people going to report to?

    President Stroger came in the door facing a $500 million dollar deficit. He asked all departments and other county elected officials to share in the pain. To be expected, no one wants their fiefdom to be cut. The sad part is that the media allowed the unions and the misleading county elected officials to hijack and control the debate. They were given the opportunity to make the tough choices, and they balked. President Stroger had no choice. He had to propose a budget that cut evenly across the board in order to be fair. The truth of the matter is that the majority of cuts in theory should come from the area that is the source of eating away at the county's budget. But that isn't a desired solution in anyone's book.

    By Blogger Provisoguru, at 10:35 AM, February 17, 2007  

  • Ricky says: What if Stroger is just trying to shake people up? What if his real plan is to cdall for a massive tax increase? All this screaming and yelling only makes a tax increase look like the best solution to the problem.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:15 AM, February 17, 2007  

  • Ricky:

    What if President Stroger is sincere?

    What if he's trying to actually reduce a government that the county can no longer afford?

    What if he's actually following through on a campaign pledge not to raise taxes?

    I know this line of thought is probably far-fetched but.....

    What if Commissioners Claypool and Peraica are just sore losers who are going to be against any and everything that President Stroger attempts to do?

    By Blogger Provisoguru, at 12:23 PM, February 17, 2007  

  • Proviso Guru,

    What if Stroger and Beavers are as cynical and self-serving as many or us suspect?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 12:49 PM, February 17, 2007  

  • Carl:

    The "many of us" that you're speaking of are the very same vocal minority that opposed President Stroger every since he became the Democratic Party's choice to replace his father on the General Election ballot. He won the election despite all the haters who resented his selection as the candidate. He was then and is now better qualified than Claypool and Peraica put together.

    By Blogger Provisoguru, at 1:54 PM, February 17, 2007  

  • He was then and is now better qualified than Claypool and Peraica put together.

    I can't imagine a bigger clod than Stroger. He's a gift to bloggers but a disaster for anyone living in Cook County.

    By Blogger Bill Baar, at 10:38 AM, February 18, 2007  

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