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05/14/2010

Stroger's "Binge" Explained

  As the Chicago news media's "torch and pitchfork" gang makes another run at the 5th floor of the Cook County Building, it should keep in mind there are some logical reasons for what the Chicago Tribune called President Todd Stroger's "hiring binge".

  Remember that Stroger was the humiliated loser of the ridiculously-early Illinois democratic primary election on February 2nd.  His term does not end until next December.  The loss meant he would have to run the executive branch of county government for ten months, or nearly one fourth of his term, as a "lame duck".

  Spokesman Gene Mullins points out that the President has several hundred political hires (Shakman-exempts) serving "at his pleasure" running the executive branch of county government.  Because of attrition alone, Mullins explained, Stroger would routinely hire many replacements in the course of a three month period. 

  Also, owing to the coming change in the president's office, understand that virtually every one of the political hires began looking for a new job on February 3rd.   As the key members of his administration (including department heads) find new jobs, they must be replaced.  Its logical  to expect that the resignations will increase during the summer and fall and that Stroger will have to find people to keep county government up and running.  And given the politically-driven, temporary nature of the appointments, the appointees are more likely to demand top dollar. 

  It helps explain the President's veto of the county board-imposed hiring freeze on his office.

  Three months after voters humiliated Stroger at the polls, county commissioners might think it politically popular to put the President on a short leash when it comes to hiring and setting salaries.   And its not at all surprising that Stroger's media critics would use the "issue" to drop a few more lashes on the local politician who is their favorite "whipping boy".

  But Stroger-haters at the county building and in the media mob also should explain the circumstances.

  Its the fair way to do it.

   

  

 

  

 

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