Todd Stroger: A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of William Beavers
By Kevin Robinson in News on Dec 8, 2006 2:50PM
At Wednesday's first meeting of the newly installed Cook County Board, Todd Stroger kept his first promise of the new term — moving to appoint a tougher, more independent inspector general. Under a bill introduced by Commisioners Mike Quigley and John Daley, a new inspector general will soon have broader powers of oversight across all county offices. Assumed to be retired Circuit Judge Julia Nowicki, thanks to an agreement between the county and attorney Michael Shakman and approved by a federal judge, the county escapes a potential lawsuit.
Besides taking the easy step of beginning the process to appoint the new IG, this move frees the county of the requirements of the Shakman Decree by 2009. And the Cook County Board President's office can maintain the IG under the executive. While this IG may be tougher and more independent, there is no guarantee that future monitors will be as responsive. Stroger also dodged another campaign promise (and, in Chicagoist's opinion, one that is far more important) — firing J.W. Fairman, the director of the juvenile detention center that Stroger vowed to fire (along with all other supervisors) back in October.
The Cook County state's attorney's office also announced on Wednesday that they have determined that Stroger will only have the power to vote on the Board in cases where a tie-breaker is needed. Not that it matters, as William Beavers made abundantly clear: "He don't need to vote; I'm his vote.... So why does he need to vote? The only time the mayor of the city of Chicago votes is when it's a tie." While Beavers was making a point about how parliamentary procedures work in other parts of local government (we think), his statement certainly alludes to a suspicion that we have had all along — that the Daley Machine is systemically linked to the 7th and 8th Wards, and therefore the county board.