Preckwinkle Earns Kudos After One Year as County Board President

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 5, 2011 10:00PM

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. (Image via Preckwinkle's Facebook page.)

A year ago today Toni Preckwinkle succeeded Todd Stroger as Cook County Board President. (Has it only been a year?) While her first 12 months would have been considered a positive by simply not being Stroger, Preckwinkle has been, for the most part, as advertised.

Both the Tribune and the Sun-Times offer their looks back at Preckwinkle's first year and largely stick to the script already written about Preckwinkle: That she's an inflexible, sometimes humorless, detail-oriented taskmaster who isn't afraid to piss off a few people if it means doing what needs to be done. Here's her words on Stroger, from the Tribune:

"When I took this job … I never dreamed that I would be submitting budgets — two budgets in one year — that called for dramatic layoffs in county government," Preckwinkle said. "Succeeding someone who was at best inept is a mixed blessing. On one hand, the bar is pretty low in terms of your performance. On the other hand, things are a mess, and over the last year we've done our best to begin to correct the mess we inherited. … It's regrettable, in my mind, that that has had to include layoffs."

That Preckwinkle has ruffled some feathers is a given. Commissioner William Beavers has been among the first to oppose her, whether the subject is the county budget or taking furlough days. Commissioner Larry Suffredin told the Sun-Times of Preckwinkle's "rigidity" and the hopes she may begin to relax.

While the two budgets Preckwinkle has drafted and passed with overwhelming support of the county board are among her more notable achievements, government watchdog the Better Government Association has been on her when necessary, most recently when they criticized the pay raises for her security detail as other county employees faced salary cuts and layoffs.