Stroger over budget in hiring, promotions

May 13, 2010 4:53:43 AM PDT
A report released Wednesday shows that as Cook Co. Board President Todd Stroger prepares to leave office, he is over budget on both hiring and promotions.

That has given some of the Cook County commissioners new ammunition as they go after lame duck Board President Todd Stroger for his hiring and spending practices.

A report requested by the commissioners shows Stroger has made seven hires this year, five of them coming after he lost the primary election in February.

Carla Oglesby helped run the Stroger campaign and was hired into a county job after the election loss. Her $120,000-a-year salary is nearly $4,000 dollars a year more than the budgeted amount for deputy chief of staff.

Stroger also paid Frank Gardner $95,000 a year for a job on the human rights commission - $31,000 more than the budget for the position.

Gardner was a contributor to the Stroger campaign.

Roderick Height, also hired after the election loss, is paid $150,000, which is more than $36,000 over the budgeted amount for his job in information systems.

In addition, Stroger has given raises to ten employees, and he is more than $64,000 over budget in raises.

"I'm surprised that there are as many violations of the ordinance we passed in December that prohibited pay raises without the approval of the county board," said Commissioner Larry Suffredin.

There is also an investigation of Carla Oglesby because she is the owner of a company that got a $24,975 no-bid contract from the county.

"You certainly can be working on a campaign or for any other client and working on a county project at the same time," said Oglesby. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and there's certainly nothing illegal about that."

Stroger said last week that Oglesby would be suspended until an investigation was completed, but with the investigation still underway, she returned to work yesterday.

When the county commissioners took away Stroger's ability to award no-bid contracts for under $25,000, he vetoed the bill.

"They're spending money like drunken sailors, rewarding friends and donors, and using taxpayer monies when we don't have any to spare," said Commissioner Tony Peraica.

Todd Stroger's office could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

The next county board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.


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