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Whose Side are You On?

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 20, 2007 1:50PM

2007_3_mike_quigley.jpgMike Quigley would have you believe that he supports good government for Cook County. He came into office in 1998, the lone reformer on the bloated and corrupt board. By his second term, he found brotherhood: joining forces with Forrest Claypool, Larry Suffriden, and Tony Peraica, they managed to form an alliance and win some victories against John Stroger's Machine. In 2005 he threw his hat in the ring to challenge the former County Board President, and then backed reformer Forrest Claypool when it became clear that only by uniting would they have a chance to take the Board. But now days, we aren't sure what he stands for. Has Mike Quigley become so star struck with Bill Beavers and his big hog nuts power that he's willing to sell-out for a slice of the insider pie?

After Claypool lost the primary, Quigley started to cut his losses, lending his own chief of staff, Jennifer Koehler to the Toddler's campaign. After Bill Beaver's little boy beat Tony Peraica, Quigley quickly determined that it was in his best interest to deal with the Toddler, even if only a little bit. Arguing that he was going to work with Beavers and Stroger to take the county in a new direction, (including creating a stronger and more independent Inspector General), he snuggled right up. Never mind that the reform budget Quigley flipped on, siding instead with the Machine, left that office with no new money for oversight.

As the shenanigans grow in Cook County, with some half a million dollars missing from an estate account that holds money for heirs that cannot be located, and a fund that holds Cook County Jail inmates' money, and another $30 million in Homeland Security funds unaccounted for, it can't be long before the shit starts to stick. The Feds are already sniffing around about "mismanagement" of minority contracts that went to fronts for a bunch of white guys, and the FBI is looking into questionable hiring. As Carol Marin pointed out, Quigley is a smart, talented public policy wonk. But we have to wonder how smart Quigley really is. Does he believe that opposing no-bid contracts while standing idly by as the Machine rapes the county makes him one of the good guys? Politics in this town is cut throat, and people here have long memories. We hope this little taste of insider politics is worth it for him.

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