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updated: 10/18/2010 9:43 PM

Q&A: Goslin, Bishop Jenkins for Cook County Board 14

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Daily Herald report

The Cook County Board's 14th district covers the top half of the "northwest wing of Cook County. It is represented by Gregg Goslin of Glenview, first elected in 1998. His challenger is Jennifer Bishop Jenkins of Northfield. Both candidates responded to the Daily Herald questionnaire.

Q. What is your Number 1 campaign issue?

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Bishop Jenkins: My top priority will be to streamline Cook County Government. This will include consolidating excessive numbers of county departments, and merging them into fewer units. One example would be to take the five separate agencies that deal with taxes (Auditor, Board of Review, Assessor, etc.) and merge them into one Office of Tax Administration.

I would fold the Forest Preserve Police under the Sheriff's office for administration. I would merge the offices of Secretary and Clerk of the Board. I would replace the health care billing department reporting currently a 60% error rate instead with automated billing software.

I would institute prevention programs to reduce payouts in our self-insurance and to reduce the cost of lawsuits against the county. There are many other possible such streamlining efforts. These will not primarily cut front line services, but instead will reduce the size and number of administrative bureaucracies. The cost savings enabled by this downsizing of bureaucracy will allow for needed tax cuts, and other stimulative programs that will help restore the Cook County economy.

The remaining half penny of the Stroger Sales Tax can be eliminated if we will take the steps I have outlined.

I would also implement zero-based budgeting to eliminate deficit spending. Each expenditure has to be justified before it would be approved and departments would not begin their budgeting process with last year's allotments. I would require all contracts to be put out to bid competitively and eliminate the no-bid contracts to politically connected firms that characterize the status quo with the Cook County Board and Administration.

Goslin: Reduce the sales tax another half percent. This regressive tax places an especially onerous burden to residents in the 14th District, as we border three other counties, putting local jobs, businesses and our quality of life in peril.

Q. What is your Number 2 campaign issue?

Bishop Jenkins: Once I am elected, I will begin immediately the vital work to eliminate the corrupt hiring in Cook County. Studies by the Better Government Association and others show a potential savings of up to 13% in the Cook County budget if patronage hiring were significantly reduced, and even eliminated.

I would cut the number of Shakman exempt positions down to just a small handful per elected official, so that there would be only a few dozen exempt positions total in the entire county. All other hiring would be open, competitive, and transparent, and subject to Shakman requirements. All job descriptions and requirements will be posted online, along with their salary.

There should be only the smallest number of salaries in Cook County over $100K. All employees who make more than that would be given significant pay cuts under my plan. I will freeze all pay increases until the county's financial problems are solved, and I would support the 10% pay cut being proposed by Board President Candidate Preckwinkle for all county leadership.

I would create a whistle-blower hotline to report ghost payrolling, absent and non-working employees, and corruption in personnel. I would create a virtual suggestion box with incentives for all employees who can come up with ways for Cook County to save money. Some employees of the county that I have already talked to tell me that they can easily identify employees in several departments who got their jobs because of who they know, not what they know, and who are almost entirely nonproductive on the job.

Cook County is infamous for this problem of corrupt hiring, and we are all paying for it. It has gone unchecked by the current Administration and Board of Commissioners and I am committed to working nonstop to end this practice.

Goslin: Convert the county pension plan into a two tier system. The current system is simply unsustainable. My proposal includes restructuring the plan for new employees by converting from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan, raising the early retirement age from 50 to 55, raising retirement age from 60 to 62 and decreasing annual benefit from 80% to 65% of final salary, eliminating automatic year 3% pension increases and replacing with CPI adjustments.

Q. What is your Number 3 campaign issue?

Bishop Jenkins: The largest single item in the Cook County budget is the criminal justice system. I will implement measures that will reduce crime and its costly impact.

As a murder victim's family member who devoted her life after our personal tragedy to working to prevent crime and reduce violence, I will bring a singular and nationally recognized expertise to this largest single item in the Cook County budget.

I already travel the nation training other jurisdictions how to better function in the criminal justice arena, and I serve as an adviser to the US Sentencing Commission and the US Congressional Caucus on crime victims. I have long partnered with law enforcement for better policies and am well acquainted with national best practices that have not yet been implemented in Cook County that will cut costs and enhance quality of life in Cook County by reducing violent crime.

No matter where we live in Cook County, we are all affected by our high crime rate because we are all paying for it in our taxes. One single shooting death, for example, costs the Cook County taxpayer alone approximately $400,000. Our largest in the nation court system and jail are clogged, and yet the public still is not safe.

Prevention works and prevention saves money. We can also save significantly with ankle-bracelet monitoring of nonviolent offenders, which costs 10 cents on the dollar compared to incarceration. Regional law enforcement strategies have been proposed but not tried by Cook County.

Project Exile would take up into the federal system many eligible violent serious offenses, yet only half of the eligible cases are being sent to the federal system and are instead being unnecessarily maintained by the Cook County taxpayer. Recidivism is very costly and proven programs have been either cut or never tried by the county.

No other county commissioner will bring the expertise, ideas, and effective proposals to this largest single area of county government as I will. Crime prevention will save money, yes, but better still, we can live in safer and happier communities.

Goslin: Consolidate all Information Technology functions into a single Cook County IT Department. The county currently spends some $150 million per year on various IT projects that lack strategy, coordination and effectiveness. Properly applied technology can improve performance and create an operating environment that will allow the county to reduce duplicate personnel, create efficiencies and save money over the long-term. Earlier this year the County Board approved my IT Consolidation proposal, which now needs to be implemented.

Q. Should the remainder of the 1-percentage-point sales tax increase be repealed? Why or why not? What cuts or other revenue generators would you support to replace that lost income? What effect does the sales tax have on businesses near other counties?

Bishop Jenkins: Yes, the remaining half of the Stroger Sales Tax must and can be immediately repealed.

I have already detailed above that the county has not yet tried the two areas that will reduce our expenses and facilitate the sales tax cuts: First, streamlining the county bureaucracy; and second, dramatically curtail corrupt hiring. The 14th District runs the entire northern border of Cook County and our businesses have documented substantial loss of retail sales to our neighboring Lake and McHenry Counties to the north, and Kane to the west.

My website www.jenniferbishopjenkins.com has a chart that shows the drop in revenues that came after the increase of the sales tax. The current administration and county board has failed to step up to do the hard work clearly called for in this crisis. We must reduce the number of county agencies and consolidate functions. There is no need to have five different agencies dealing with the taxation function of the county.

There is no need for any PR personnel working for the county to advertise its good work, such as the one employee who makes $110,000 a year to go around encouraging men to get prostrate health checks. A worthy cause, but not necessary for county taxpayers to cover.

There are far too many employees in Cook County whose salaries are well over six figures but who we have no idea what they do. There should be almost no employees in the county who make over six figures, and I would require a 10% pay cut for them all, even more for the largest salaries. I will personally support a reduction in Commissioner salaries, and elimination of unnecessary expenses such as travel.

The incumbent in this race has traveled extensively on the county taxpayer dollar to meetings that are not necessary for the county. The reduction of the number of patronage employees identified by the Better Government Association working for the county would allow savings of up to 13%.

And there are many other areas where we can cut waste so as to be able to reduce the taxes that are so hurtful to our businesses. But even businesses not near the borders of the county have suffered. I spoke to one downtown printer whose direct competitor in DuPage County was undercutting him on every sale because their sales tax was lower and he lost business. We will restore much more fiscal health to the county when we streamline the waste instead of raising the taxes.

Goslin: I support the immediate repeal of the remaining half of the 2008 sales tax increase. That is my first priority as the newly elected Board of Commissioners meets. My record here is clear: I sponsored a full 1% repeal of the sales tax increase. That measure received six votes and was defeated.

Not wanting the perfect to be the enemy of the good, I later was one of the sponsors of a -percent reduction of the sales tax, which passed with eleven votes. As the 14th District borders three other counties, this regressive tax places an especially onerous burden on our local businesses and residents, putting local jobs, businesses and our quality of life in peril.

Cook County doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. My position is that you can't tax your way out of a spending problem, you have to stop spending. To meet its fiscal needs, Cook County must get its fiscal priorities in order. At a time when other units of government (and private sector businesses, including mine) are cutting back, Cook County is increasing its budget by over 3.3% in a 0% inflation economy.

I passed legislation this spring that begins the work to consolidate all Information Technology functions into a single Cook County IT Department. The county currently spends some $150 million per year on various IT projects that lack strategy, coordination and effectiveness. Properly applied technology can improve performance and create an operating environment that will allow the county to reduce duplicate personnel, create efficiencies and save money over the long-term.

One of the largest components of the county budget is public safety. No meaningful reduction in county spending can be accomplished without significant spending reductions in this area.

For years the average population in the county jail was 10,000 detainees per day. A Federal lawsuit resulted in the Duran Decree which required the Sheriff to hire hundreds of additional correction officers to ensure the safety of the detainees.

Sheriff Dart has worked to shrink that population to less than 9,000 detainees, resulting in the closing of jail's Division 2, the first reduction in decades. However, a significant savings could be realized by reducing the population of the jail utilizing electronic monitoring for nonviolent, low-risk detainees, a common tool practiced in counties throughout the country.

The savings would be dramatic. If 1,000 of the 9,000 detainees were released on electronic monitors, the county would save over $41 million. The Cook County jail is often considered the largest mental illness facility in Illinois. If the Sheriff and the Chief Judge followed Broward County, Florida's lead, and established a dedicated mental illness court, mentally ill citizens who have committed nonviolent, petty crimes could be fast-tracked through the legal system, kept out of jail and get the help they need. The county would be acting compassionately and saving millions of dollars per year.

The Health System reduced its revenue request from the county Board by $74 million, or 19% in FY2010. To reduce costs and streamline operations, the county should study and follow the action steps taken by the Health System Board to downsize/right-size its work force and become more aggressive with increasing fee-based revenues.

Q. Do the suburbs get a fair share of Cook County resources? Please explain and give examples. How would you repair any inequities?

Bishop Jenkins: Unequivocally, the suburbs do NOT get their fair share of county resources. This is one of the leading issues that first prompted friends to encourage me to run for this office. The incumbent in this district states on his website that bringing back services to the district is the job of the commissioner. But by his own figures, residents are losing substantially with only a 22% average rate of return.

I have blogged about this and there is more detail available to substantiate this problem at my website at www.jenniferbishopjenkins.com where we show these figures. Voters that I talk to every day in the 14th District see Cook County government as a "giant sucking sound that takes their money away in taxes but gives them very little in return. There are 17 districts in Cook County, but this district pays far more than 1/17th of the county's income. And we get far LESS than 1/17th of the resources back.

The incumbent for example voted to close of one of the two regional health clinics out here, but now the remaining one is overcrowded. I will be a fierce advocate for the needs of the north and northwest suburbs of Cook County on the Board. I will not be silent or invisible and I will make sure that we get more of our fair share.

I will convene meetings with residents to listen to and advocate for what the county can do better for them. And to finally address the problems of the status quo, I will work to restore the imbalanced distribution of our funds to the south of the county. I understand return on investment and will make this a top priority of my office.

Goslin: The essential services provided by Cook County are health care and public safety. Providing these services, even in the most efficient and economic manner, requires an enormous amount of money. Because the great majority of Cook County citizens and taxpayers do not use the services provided by the county jail, court system or county health care system, it is often difficult to justify the amount of money required to maintain these services.

My role is to work to ensure that the resources entrusted to the county by the taxpayers is utilized with thoughtful attention to the most urgent needs and to ensure that the 14th District receives a fair share of the available resources. Since 1999, during my term as Commissioner, resources returned to the district via highway and bridge improvements, public health, Forest Preserve, Community Development Block Grants to local not-profit organizations, community projects and Emergency Shelter Grants have totaled $328,615,534.

It is important to note that on average, my 14th District residential and business property owners pay just under $67 million in taxes to the county. As you can see from the following chart, in 2003 the 14th District received $10 million more in projects and services than it paid in taxes.

Q. Is the Cook property-tax assessment system equitable? Do you support the new formula for assessing homes at 10 percent of market value and businesses at 25 percent of market value? Why or why not? What changes, if any, do you favor?

Bishop Jenkins: Part of the original intent of the 10-25 plan was to stabilize the rate of the property taxes, but the plan also dramatically complicated the assessment system. The final result has been that most residents' taxes have gone up significantly because the assessed values of their homes have increased.

I spoke to one Palatine resident who was afraid they might have to declare bankruptcy because their usual $8,000 property tax bill was going to be close to $16,000 this year. The plan showed lack of foresight because of what did happen to so many of us with the dramatic drop in home values that came with the recession. We had to pay much more for homes that were worth much less.

The media did do some reporting about how the incredibly complicated system of property taxes was going to work, and how it was actually made worse in some ways by the 10-25 plan. But most people cannot understand it even if they want to and try to. I commend the Daily Herald for their attention to this issue, and I actually very early on issued a news release about this with more analysis, available at my website www.jenniferbishopjenkins.com.

The incumbent in this district voted for the plan and has been silent about the public concerns about it now. Certainly must of the problems with property taxes in Illinois are down in Springfield, and we cannot alone in Cook County fix them. But strong advocacy from county commissioners can still be effective in pushing reforms needed both at the state and county level.

Another very real issue is the ridiculous state that we now find ourselves in Cook County where almost every homeowner and property taxpayer that can has to appeal their taxes to get them down. Appealing the assessments has now become standard practice. This shows that the assessments are not working and are not fair.

There are so many people appealing that it is further delaying the tax bills and process, some say deliberately so until after the elections. Many people may not even know now how much higher their tax bills are going to be under this new current system. And there is an inappropriately cozy relationship between those lobbying for tax reductions, those lobbying the government, and those in power who financially benefit from helping their buddies.

The average homeowner is paying now for big breaks being given to politically well connected firms. I will fight hard for a fair, stable, and fully transparent system of assessing property values. I will work to ban all inappropriate relationships between those who set the assessments and those who represent clients before officials, and those who make campaign donations.

We must remove the old guard and start the reform process as soon as possible, before more of our residents lose their homes or suffer needlessly because they cannot afford the increased property taxes on them. The 10-25 plan was shortsighted, designed to line the pockets of those who "work the assessment system, and has only made things worse.

Goslin: I believe the transition to the so called 10-25 assessment system has unwittingly become the defining issue in this campaign. The 10-25 ordinance was passed to create simplicity and transparency in the assessment of real property. This new law does not lower tax bills, but will make the property tax system clearer and easier to understand. It replaces a complex property tax system, which used several confusing residential and commercial strata, with a streamlined, two-level system, assessing residential properties at 10 percent and business properties at 25% of market value. I support this measure as it makes it easier for taxpayers -- particularly homeowners -- to better understand the first step in the property tax system: their assessment.

This system was studied, analyzed and endorsed by the independent and highly respected Civic Federation and by the Taxpayer's Federation of Illinois.

Opponents of this measure support keeping the real estate taxing process as complicated and confusing as possible, so that the cottage industry of tax attorneys, appraisers and powerful insiders can thrive. They have manufactured various issues to provide cover as they do what they do every year: shift hundreds of millions of dollars of tax burden away from corporate and commercial interests represented by clout- heavy attorneys and shift that burden onto ordinary homeowners.


Q.As revenues are likely to keep falling in the year ahead, what spending cuts can and should be made in Cook County government? Please be specific.

Bishop Jenkins: I have already detailed above the needed cuts in consolidating the size of county government, the number of separate departments, and the reduction and elimination of incompetent and unnecessary patronage employees. We should not be spending any money on public relations employees whose job is to make us feel good about the county.

We should eliminate for example, the $110,000 a year position of a person that goes around the county urging men to get prostrate check ups. A nice function if you have the money, but we do not. Almost no employees of the county should make more than six figures, and I would push big pay cuts on all those positions. I would require that every job description and every salary be posted on line. I would eliminate Shakman-exempt positions so that all applicants can compete openly and fairly. People should be hired for what they know, not who they know.

Also, we are self-insured in Cook County and lose substantial money each year to injuries and lawsuits. A better emphasis on prevention could reduce costs. My idea of a virtual suggestion box from employees, with incentives for all cost-cutting proposals will encourage creative innovations.

There is no need for separate purchasing, IT, and HR functions in all the county departments. We should centralize all administrative functions. We can make much better use of volunteers willing to help in the Forest Preserves and the county jail. Much can be done to reduce spending in Cook County. For much more discussion of this issue, see my website at www.jenniferbishopjenkins.com.

Goslin: A review of expenses should begin with an examination of the number of county employees, now reported to be in excess of 24,000 and followed closely by a review of generous employee benefits. In an era of downsizing in both the public and private sectors, due in large measure to the efficiencies of technology, Cook County appears stuck in a time warp.

The county's employee medical insurance coverage is unprecedented in either the public or private sector. In my private sector business, our employees receive medical insurance, with co-payments required. Family coverage is available at an extra cost. Co-payments and benefits change as the market and our insurance costs change not so at the county.

The county pension benefit is exceedingly generous and is simply unsustainable. My priority for the next term is to convert the county pension plan into a two tier system.

My proposal includes restructuring the plan for new employees by converting from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan, raising the early retirement age from 50 to 55, raising retirement age from 60 to 62 and decreasing annual benefit from 80% to 65% of final salary, eliminating automatic year 3% pension increases and replacing with CPI adjustments.

The Health System has reduced budgeted employees by 1000 positions. As discussed in the first question, the public safety agencies of the county need to reduce & right size their staff. Earlier this year, the Board passed my resolution to centralize all IT matters in one office, which will reduce employees and duplication countywide.

Goslin: A review of expenses should begin with an examination of the number of county employees, now reported to be in excess of 24,000 and followed closely by a review of generous employee benefits. In an era of downsizing in both the public and private sectors, due in large measure to the efficiencies of technology, Cook County appears stuck in a time warp. The county's employee medical insurance coverage is unprecedented in either the public or private sector. In my private sector business, our employees receive medical insurance, with co-payments required. Family coverage is available at an extra cost. Co-payments and benefits change as the market and our insurance costs change not so at the county.

The county pension benefit is exceedingly generous and is simply unsustainable. My priority for the next term is to convert the county pension plan into a two tier system. My proposal includes restructuring the plan for new employees by converting from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan, raising the early retirement age from 50 to 55, raising retirement age from 60 to 62 and decreasing annual benefit from 80% to 65% of final salary, eliminating automatic year 3% pension increases and replacing with CPI adjustments.

The Health System has reduced budgeted employees by 1000 positions. As discussed in the first question, the public safety agencies of the county need to reduce & right size their staff. Earlier this year, the Board passed my resolution to centralize all IT matters in one office, which will reduce employees and duplication countywide.

Q. Is there more or less corruption in county government than is commonly perceived? What needs to be done to root it out completely?

Bishop Jenkins: If my conversations with various employees of Cook County throughout different departments in the government is any indication, there may be more corruption than we know. Anecdotally I am being told of hundreds of employees in some departments who are not really working; who are incompetent but well connected; and who could easily be eliminated without any loss in efficiency.

Good employees are happy to see these reforms because they carry the burden of an increased workload, picking up the slack for lazy co-workers. My conversations have led me to believe that this problem is more pervasive in some specific divisions of the county more than others.

For example, my observations are that most of the employees of the criminal justice system the sheriffs, the prosecutors and public defenders, the probation officers, etc., are all incredibly overworked and very hard working. But there are many county agencies that do not have that same reputation.

Once I am elected, I will work to change how we hire people in Cook County, how we evaluate employees and how we retain them. We must come into full compliance with the Shakman decree and even surpass its standards. Yet it has been in place for decades and we are still not in compliance. It is simply stunning to me, and completely unacceptable to all of us, that Cook County is still not in compliance with this decades-old order to clean up our hiring practices.

To further the picture of incompetence, the federal government had to take over control of our Juvenile Detention Facility because the county could not competently run it. This is an outrage and an embarrassment. No Cook County taxpayer should stand for this and this clearly explains much of the anti-incumbent sentiment I am hearing as I talk to the voters in my district.

We must also change the laws in Springfield that regulate who can give money to elected officials and how that is reported.

Finally, we must eliminate conflict of interest in county leadership. Most of the commissioners have outside jobs, some of which reflect an apparent direct conflict of interest with their duties as commissioner. I will be a full-time commissioner, fighting full time for the residents of my district. I am the only candidate running for the board that I know that has made that promise.

Goslin: Nothing could be as corrupt as how Cook County is perceived by the public. Although there is actually less "criminal corruption than is generally believed, it is important to remember that corruption has evolved with the times. In today's world, corruption is not limited to ghost payrolls or bridges or pay-to-play politics. In fact, behaving in a corrupt manner does not always require criminal activity.

I define corruption much more broadly, and it is my desire to strengthen government against forces of corruption that drives many of my actions on the Cook County Board. At the heart of my mission statement is providing efficient, effective, economical and compassionate management of County business, and corruption, in its many forms, undermines my mission and the central purpose of county government.

Lack of good, solid management in government operations is corruption, because it prevents citizens from receiving the services they need or deserve. Lack of strong, focused leadership of the government is corruption, because taxpayer's money is not well spent. Duplicative duties, functions, departments and offices are corrupt, because tax dollars are being wasted.

Spending millions of dollars a year on IT functions that lack strategy, coordination and effectiveness is corrupt because properly applied technology can improve performance and allow the county to reduce costs and save money.

A government that borrows hundreds of millions of dollars without first revealing all the parties to the transaction (bank, attorneys, interest rates and terms) is corrupt because the lack of transparency obstructs taxpayers' ability to find out who benefits from the debt incurred.

Public officials who enact programs and polices that are not financially sustainable are corrupt. Public officials who offer pensions to employees, and then do not adequately fund them, are corrupt. Public officials who do not regularly review employee salaries and benefit packages to realign them into economic reality consistent with the private sector, are corrupt because they have failed their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers.

Adequate systems, including offices of the County's independent Inspector General, the Cook County State's Attorney, the Illinois Attorney General and the U.S. attorney, are in place to root out and punish the criminally corrupt. The corruption I just discussed, however, can only be rooted out by strong county leadership with the will to do the right thing.

Over the years, I have been relentless in this area. For example, in 2008, I acted with a bipartisan coalition to pass a law that completely transformed the bonding (borrowing) process, bringing true transparency to the process by requiring prior approval by the Board of the terms of the bonds, together with interest rates and bond teams (banks, attorneys). This law exposed the pinstripe patronage and insider deals that enriched a select, privileged few.

Further, I sponsored legislative to amend the Pension Code so that an elected official convicted of a felony loses eligibility for a county government pension. I am also pleased that the County Board approved my legislation this past spring that begins the work to consolidate all Information Technology functions into a single Cook County IT Department.

Properly applied technology can improve performance and create an operating environment that will allow the county to reduce duplicate personnel, create efficiencies and save money over the long-term.

Goslin: Nothing could be as corrupt as how Cook County is perceived by the public. Although there is actually less "criminal corruption than is generally believed, it is important to remember that corruption has evolved with the times. In today's world, corruption is not limited to ghost payrolls or bridges or pay-to-play politics. In fact, behaving in a corrupt manner does not always require criminal activity.

I define corruption much more broadly, and it is my desire to strengthen government against forces of corruption that drives many of my actions on the Cook County Board. At the heart of my mission statement is providing efficient, effective, economical and compassionate management of County business, and corruption, in its many forms, undermines my mission and the central purpose of county government.

Lack of good, solid management in government operations is corruption, because it prevents citizens from receiving the services they need or deserve. Lack of strong, focused leadership of the government is corruption, because taxpayer's money is not well spent. Duplicative duties, functions, departments and offices are corrupt, because tax dollars are being wasted. Spending millions of dollars a year on IT functions that lack strategy, coordination and effectiveness is corrupt because properly applied technology can improve performance and allow the county to reduce costs and save money.

A government that borrows hundreds of millions of dollars without first revealing all the parties to the transaction (bank, attorneys, interest rates and terms) is corrupt because the lack of transparency obstructs taxpayers' ability to find out who benefits from the debt incurred. Public officials who enact programs and polices that are not financially sustainable are corrupt. Public officials who offer pensions to employees, and then do not adequately fund them, are corrupt. Public officials who do not regularly review employee salaries and benefit packages to realign them into economic reality consistent with the private sector, are corrupt because they have failed their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers.

Adequate systems, including offices of the County's independent Inspector General, the Cook County State's Attorney, the Illinois Attorney General and the U.S. attorney, are in place to root out and punish the criminally corrupt. The corruption I just discussed, however, can only be rooted out by strong county leadership with the will to do the right thing.

Over the years, I have been relentless in this area. For example, in 2008, I acted with a bipartisan coalition to pass a law that completely transformed the bonding (borrowing) process, bringing true transparency to the process by requiring prior approval by the Board of the terms of the bonds, together with interest rates and bond teams (banks, attorneys).

This law exposed the pinstripe patronage and insider deals that enriched a select, privileged few. Further, I sponsored legislative to amend the Pension Code so that an elected official convicted of a felony loses eligibility for a county government pension.

I am also pleased that the County Board approved my legislation this past spring that begins the work to consolidate all Information Technology functions into a single Cook County IT Department. Properly applied technology can improve performance and create an operating environment that will allow the county to reduce duplicate personnel, create efficiencies and save money over the long-term.

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