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Preckwinkle Sets Agenda

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 8, 2010 2:30PM

If there's any winner from last week's elections that has a case to declare a mandate, it's Cook County Board President-elect Toni Preckwinkle, having garnered 69 percent of the vote.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Sun-Times yesterday, Preckwinkle laid out the foundation of her agenda and reading it is a breath of fresh air after four years of the naked patronage and incompetency of Todd Stroger's administration. Preckwinkle said she will not allow no-bid, hush-hush contracts like the ones that led to the arrest of former Stroger aide Carla Oglesby; an end to frivolous expenditures like expensive office furniture; stated that across-the-board cuts of ten percent are necessary, starting with her $170,000 salary; an eventual repeal of the sales tax hike Stroger and the County Board approved last year; and that she won't feel beholden to cater to the whims of large campaign donors like the SEIU in making those decisions.

The most refreshing change of pace, if Preckwinkle can get other county commissioners on board, is ceasing the hiring of unqualified political patrons that ran unchecked in Stroger's administration. "The employment of friends and family and cronies who are minimally competent or just completely inappropriate hires is over," she said.

Preckwinkle will have to work hard to get other county commissioners on board, that will be a major battle won. But she's going to have to deal with obstinate county commissioners like William Beavers, who didn't sound like he wanted to haul his big hog nuts away from the county trough. Beavers told the Sun-Times, "I don't need nothing from her, so I don't see any kind of conflict." Preckwinkle backed Beavers's opponent in the general election.