Reporting John Cody
CHICAGO (WBBM) – When Toni Preckwinkle is sworn in Dec. 6th as president of the Cook County Board, it will be the first time in 16 years there will be no one named Stroger at the top of Cook County government.
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Wednesday’s county board meeting was the last for Todd Stroger.
Political science professor and former Chicago alderman Dick Simpson says both John Stroger, then son Todd, did some good things running the county board.
John Stroger replaced the 88-year-old Cook County Hospital. The new county hospital bears Stroger’s name.
Todd Stroger kept Cook County from going bankrupt by securing a one percentage point county sales tax hike.
That raised the sales tax in some portions of Cook County to 10.25 percent, but it’s since been knocked back to 9.75 percent, still leaving Cook County tied with Los Angeles County for the highest sales tax in the nation.
Simpson heads the Political Science department at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He says Todd Stroger’s tax hike was a good idea, but was double the size it should have been. Simpson believes a half percentage point sales tax increase would have been more politically palatable and effective.
Simpson said that John Stroger ran a “pretty good government,” although it had too many patronage workers.
He says Todd was less effective and was just taking over the job because his father wanted him to. He said Todd wasn’t as informed about the county and wasn’t as good at running it.
Simpson said: “I don’t think Todd started out in life wanting to be county board president.”
Simpson expects Toni Preckwinkle will have a better career as county board president and will do more to reform Cook County government.