Sheriff’s posse. BGA teams up with Greg Hinz of Crain’s for an inside look at the disproportionately high number of top jobs in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office that are held by people who live in and around Chicago’s 19th Ward on the Southwest Side, where Sheriff Tom Dart and his predecessor Michael Sheahan also live. BGA encourages Dart to keep leveling the playing field by filling vacancies with people from all over the county.
- Jimmy John. BGA Investigative Editor Bob Herguth reports exclusively in the Daily Herald that Jim Burns, inspector general for Secretary of State Jesse White, is investigating the time sheets and work records of John Craig, an inspector in the secretary of state’s office who is also mayor of west suburban Oak Brook and the subject of several BGA investigations into allegations of questionable conduct. BGA is always more comfortable when an IG is on the case.
- Point counterpoint. Sun-Times runs a BGA op-ed sparked by a letter to me from Chris Kennedy about the police bodyguard detail that protects Chicago Ald. Ed Burke. My blog has both the letter and a sightly longer version of the op-ed, which weighs Kennedy’s concerns about the safety of public officials against our pursuit of bodyguard information from Chicago police. Chris’s priority is security, ours is transparency and accountability.
- Independent inquiry? An editorial in the Sun-Times suggests an independent probe of David Koschman’s death seven years ago following a Rush Street altercation with another group of young men that included a nephew of Mayor Daley. Police and prosecutors closed the case after determining there were no grounds for charges, but the editorial says the questionable handling of the case and its political overtones cry out for an independent investigation by U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald or perhaps Chicago IG Joe Ferguson.
- District dates. Trib reports that Illinois Sen. Kwame Raoul has released a timetable for five public hearings on legislative redistricting, beginning March 28 in Chicago. BGA has joined other groups in demanding a remap process that’s more open and less political than the plan on the table.
- Rancid river? Trib also reports the U.S. EPA is investigating the billions of gallons of sewage the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District allegedly discharges into the Chicago River and other local bodies of water. BGA says come clean!
- TIF tiff. In the Sun-Times, Cook County Clerk David Orr joins protesters demanding the Grossinger Autoplex on Chicago’s North Side return a $4 million Tax Increment Finance (TIF) check from the city because they don’t need a handout that takes money away from schools and local government. BGA agrees with the larger message from Orr and the protesters about the need for TIF reform, which is supposedly high on mayor-elect Emanuel’s to-do list.