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Todd H. Stroger
President of Cook County Board
In office
December 4, 2006 – December 6, 2010
Preceded by Bobbie L. Steele
Succeeded by Toni Preckwinkle
City of Chicago Alderman
In office
September 5, 2001 – December 4, 2006
Preceded by Lorraine Dixon
Succeeded by Michelle A. Harris
Constituency 8th Ward, Chicago
Member of the
Illinois House of Representatives
from the 31st district
In office
1992–2001
Personal details
Born (1963-01-14) January 14, 1963 (age 51)
Political party Democratic
Residence Chicago
Occupation Politician

Todd H. Stroger (born January 14, 1963) is the former president of the Cook County, Illinois Board and a former alderman for the 8th Ward in Chicago. Stroger is a member of the Democratic Party. In 2001, he was appointed to the Chicago City Council by Richard M. Daley. He is the son of John Stroger who served as Cook County Board president for 12 years until his death.

On February 2, 2010, Stroger finished last in the Illinois Democratic primary behind Dorothy A. Brown, Terrence J. O'Brien and Toni Preckwinkle (who won the primary), putting him in a lame duck stage for the remainder of his board presidency. Preckwinkle would go on to win the general election and assume office on December 6, 2010.

Early life[edit]

Stroger was raised in the Chatham-Avalon neighborhood, located on Chicago's South Side. He attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory School and later received his bachelor’s degree from Xavier University in New Orleans. Before becoming an alderman he worked as an investment banker for SBK Brooks Investment Corporation.

Political career[edit]

In 1992, Stroger was elected as State Representative for the 31st District of Illinois. Stroger worked as a statistician for the Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County; later he was also a jury supervisor with the Cook County Jury Commissioners. He worked for the Chicago Park District during the tenure of Forrest Claypool.

Stroger is an active fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund and a member of the Young Democrats.

Aldermanic career[edit]

In 2001 Stroger was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace Lorraine Dixon, who had died while in office. Stroger served on seven committees: Budget and Government Operations; Committees, Rules, and Ethics; Housing and Real Estate; Human Relations; Police and Fire; Special Events and Cultural Affairs; and Traffic Control and Safety.

2006 County Board Presidential nomination[edit]

On March 14, 2006, John Stroger, Cook County Board of Commissioners president since 1994 and Todd Stroger's father, suffered a serious stroke one week before the Democratic primary.[1] John Stroger eventually won the Democratic nomination, winning about 53 percent of the votes cast, defeating Forrest Claypool. For months after the elder Stroger's stroke he did not appear in public, and his family provided little information about his condition.

Shortly after the stroke, Todd Stroger gave noncommittal responses about the likelihood that his father would remain on the ballot. But in May, he reversed his previous stance, saying his father would return to office.[2] Ultimately, John Stroger would submit his resignation. At the same time that John Stroger submitted his resignation, it was announced that alderman William Beavers would assume the County Commissioner seat while Todd Stroger, if elected, would take over the County Board presidency. This announcement came four days after the deadline for third-party candidates to file for the Board presidency race.[3]

In the aftermath of his father's resignation, Todd Stroger emerged as the front-runner for his father's presidential seat. His main opponent was U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis. Another opponent, County Commissioner Bobbie Steele, dropped out of the race shortly before party leaders chose a new candidate.[3]

On July 18, 2006, the Cook County Democratic Central Committee (a collection of 80 county Democratic party leaders also known as "ward committeemen" or "township committeemen") overwhelmingly chose Todd Stroger to replace his father as the Democratic candidate for Cook County Board president for the Nov. 7, 2006 election. The following day, Steele was unanimously elected by the Board as interim president.

According to state election officials, in July 2008, Stroger's campaign paid almost $27,000 in fines for failing to file paperwork in a timely manner. Paperwork was not filed on time for the 2006 election contributions it received along with late organization papers that were sent to the election board. The campaign also filed incomplete and late reports to the State Board of Elections during the week of July 21, 2008, so more fines are expected to be brought forth.[4]

Criticism and response[edit]

Hiring[edit]

Stroger drew fire for perceived nepotism, including promoting his cousin Donna Dunnings, who had worked in the County's budget office for 16 years, to the position of the County's chief financial officer.[5] Dunnings and Stroger received additional criticism when she received a $17,000 raise after she initially agreed to not accept a pay hike (in an attempt to help county finances).[6] Dunnings stated that critics could have blocked the pay raise by submitting an amendment to the proposed budget "if they were so concerned about the salary of the first African-American female CFO".[6]

Dunnings was later forced to resign her position after the press reported that she had posted bail for Tony Cole, a former University of Georgia basketball player and busboy whom Stroger had hired to a $60,000/year Cook County position despite Cole's having an extensive felony record. On April 16, 2009, Dunnings resigned at Stroger's request over the scandal involving the hiring of Cole as a human resources assistant in the County Highway Department. Stroger had earlier fired Cole (in Cook County Jail in connection with a domestic violence case at the time Dunnings resigned) for concealing his felony record.[7]

Tax increase[edit]

Stroger also drew criticism when he began raising certain taxes in an effort to balance the county budget and resolve staffing issues. In September 2007, he voiced his support for a proposal to raise the county-wide sales tax to 11 percent (an additional two cents on the dollar) to remedy a $307 million budget deficit, which would force public facilities such as Stroger Hospital to cut services or even close.[8] Critics of the plan included fellow Commissioners Claypool, Gorman, Peraica, and Mike Quigley who argued that spending cuts would accomplish the same purpose. Peraica additionally responded that Cook County's poorest citizens, who the tax hike is ultimately designed to serve, would find it to be the most unaffordable. Peraica's argument was seconded by then-Governor Rod Blagojevich, who expressed his opposition to the plan.[8] Gorman was instrumental, however, in refusing to back down and she introduced a resolution to repeal the sales tax on three separate occasions, finally winning board majority support on the third effort.

On February 29, 2008, the Cook County Board, by a measure of 10-7, passed a budget initiated by Stroger. Stroger's budget contained a tax increase of 1 percentage point, the largest ever passed by Cook County, with the intent of creating more than 1,000 new County jobs. As a result of Stroger's bill, on July 1 the County sales tax increased from 0.75 percent to 1.75 percent bringing Chicago's overall sales tax to 10.25 percent, which was the highest of any major U.S. city, while the sales tax was a minimum of 8.75 percent in suburban Cook County. All five Republican members of the County Board voted against the tax increase and they were joined by two of the twelve Democrats. Commissioners who voted against the tax increase were Peter N. Silvestri, Quigley, Claypool, Gregg Goslin, Timothy Schneider, Peraica, and Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman.[9] Despite the 133% increase, Dunnings stated on March 31, 2008, that the budget shortfall resolved that year is expected to return. She explained that the expected cost increase would be the result of what she described as a 'structural deficit', meaning increases in revenue being unable to match increases in expense, citing runaway health care costs among other problems.[10] A county spokesman indicated that it would most likely happen in three or four years, well into the next county presidential term.[11]

Because of a number of unanswered questions and unresolved issues surrounding the county tax increase, Cook County's outlying communities, particularly Palatine, IL, considered secession and threatened to do so unless an explanation was provided. To avoid this schism, officials from Palatine and Cook County, including Stroger initially, agreed to hold a town hall meeting at Harper College on April 30 to discuss details of the hike that remain unclear.[12] However on April 29, Stroger announced that he would not attend, accusing Palatine officials of using the meeting for political grandstanding indicating that he "[would] not debate local Palatine elected officials who expect to exploit this opportunity to further their own political agendas".[13] Eventually, Stroger did attend the Town Hall, which resulted in heavy press coverage and several Daily Herald articles refuting the claims he made while presenting there.[citation needed]

The tax increase was later partially rolled back by 0.5%.[citation needed] Chicago's overall sales tax is 9.75% and suburban Cook County is at minimum 8.25%.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Steve Patterson. "Stroger suffers apparent stroke". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2006-03-06. 
  2. ^ Fran Spielman. "Todd Stroger expects dad to stay on ballot". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2006-05-17. 
  3. ^ a b Fran Spielman. "Stroger to resign as county chief; son to run". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2006-06-30. 
  4. ^ Dardick, Hal and Rick Pearson (2008-07-22). "Todd Stroger campaign hit with nearly $27,000 state fine". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  5. ^ Ben Bradley. "Stroger defends decision to hire cousin as CFO". ABC 7 Chicago.com. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  6. ^ a b Dan Mihalopoulos (March 25, 2008). "Stroger cousin defends her pay raise as county chief financial officer". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  7. ^ Chicago Breaking News Center - Stroger fires cousin over hiring scandal, WGN-TV, April 17, 2009
  8. ^ a b Sarah Schult. "Cook County Board to vote on proposed sales tax increase". ABC 7 Chicago.com. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  9. ^ Associated Press. "Cook Co. OKs budget with sales tax hike". Chicago Business. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  10. ^ Craig Dellimore. "Stroger's CFO Cousin Defends Steep Tax Hikes". WBBM780.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  11. ^ Hal Dardick (April 1, 2008). "Despite big sales tax, shortfall seen for Cook County". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  12. ^ Kimberly Pohl. "Palatine will get chance to pepper Stroger". The Daily Herald. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  13. ^ Kevin Robinson. "Todd Stroger to Skip Palatine Meeting After All". Chicagoist. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Bobbie L. Steele
Cook County Board President
2006–2010
Succeeded by
Toni Preckwinkle

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Stroger — Please support Wikipedia.
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458 news items

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times
Fri, 16 May 2014 21:10:32 -0700

Todd Stroger, meanwhile, has just watched his childhood friend and former top aide, Gene Mullins, go to prison for taking $35,000 in kickbacks on county contracts during his administration. And another top aide, Carla Oglesby, was locked up in April ...
 
WBEZ
Tue, 20 May 2014 15:31:45 -0700

But now, former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger - a self-described political “lightning rod” - is defending his latest gig: working as a consultant to an influential aldermen at Chicago's City Hall. Despite the controversies that have ...
 
Chicago Tribune
Tue, 21 Jan 2014 20:02:56 -0800

A high-ranking Cook County official from a prominent Democratic family retired late last year after the county's chief internal watchdog recommended he be fired for coercing government workers into donating to the campaign of then-County Board ...
 
Crain's Chicago Business
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:35:10 -0700

(AP) — A former top aide to Cook County's former board president was sentenced to 6½ years in prison for stealing more than $300,000 in taxpayer money and money-laundering. Carla Oglesby, 44, was sentenced today, Cook County prosecutors say.

Windy City Times

Windy City Times
Wed, 03 Dec 2014 08:31:12 -0800

Lastly, I'm very proud of the fact that Cook County government is perhaps the only government in Northern Illinois that can claim we've cut taxes by repealing the [Todd] Stroger sales tax in Cook County, demonstrating that we can live within our means.

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times
Fri, 23 May 2014 21:01:37 -0700

After several years spent searching for gainful employment, ousted Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he's happy to return to the payrolls of government and relishes the chance to “get out more” through his new job, working for a South Side ...

NBC Chicago

Chicago Sun-Times
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 16:15:00 -0700

“This case was always about Todd Stroger — I've said that from the beginning,” Donald-Kyai said in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse after the verdict was announced. “This isn't any different from Roman times when people went through trials ...
 
Chicago Tribune
Wed, 28 Aug 2013 13:45:56 -0700

A Cook County judge who said it was "absolutely shocking" how taxpayer money was handled by then-County Board President Todd Stroger's office found a former top Stroger aide guilty Wednesday on theft and money-laundering charges. Prosecutors said ...
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