Preckwinkle Wants Big Raise For Cook County Employee

UPDATED 02/14/11 8:43 a.m.

CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – The second in charge at the Cook County Forest Preserve District could see a substantial increase in salary if Board President Toni Preckwinkle has her way.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports

Mary Laraia holds the title of “Executive Assistant to the Superintendent” of the Cook County Forest Preserve.

Laraia is making $111,098 a year now, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Preckwinkle wants to boost her salary more than $43,000 to $155,172, the newspaper reported.

The general superintendent said Laraia’s duties are expanding, including a title change to “Deputy Superintendent”, and that is one of the reasons he said she deserves a raise.

Laraia and her husband, city Community Development Department Commissioner Andrew J. Mooney, have been regular contributors to Preckwinkle. Laraia contributed $2,250 to Preckwinkle’s campaign for County Board president last year, the Sun-Times reported.

Preckwinkle says the county is “lucky to have” Laraia.

But county Commissioner Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman (R-17th) questioned the pay boost and said it leads to the question of whether “longtime contributors (are) being rewarded,” the Sun-Times reported.

  • elginman

    Sure doesn’t take too long for our newly elected officials to give out gravy train jobs and pay raises. Can we have the “Tood-ler” back??

    • BobB

      It’s obviously a different job, one that Mary Laraia is probably overqualified for. The overall budget for the county, and ALL of it’s pieces is going down, and with Preckwinkle instead of Stroger, we are getting quality people who want work for the county, unlike the hacks we are used to. I’m not justifying the overall number, but, if you want Todd Stroger back, I think you’re in the extreme minority.

    • Pat B

      How ridiculous with all the budget cuts. Wake up and do your job!!!!!!!!! The one the people voted you to do. I thought you were going to cut spending? What give raises only to the people that gave to your campaign??? Good luck getting re-elected.

  • Rich

    Cant believe it. She is no better than Stroger. Thats a niece return. Donate $2,500, and get a $43,000 pay raise.. ?? Must be the air in that office ??

  • RK

    Even if she deserves a raise 39% is out of line. Why not start with 10% and see how she handles her new responsibilities>

  • Sam

    Can we impeach this idiot?

  • Tommy from Edison Park

    it clearly didnt take long for Preckwinkle to show her true political colors…layoff front line workers that are not part of Toni’s inner circle (4th ward, Hyde Park, Univ of Chicago) so that a political contributor responsible for forest preserves can receive a $43,000 raise. we have traded public safety for “green” space??

    Toni Preckwinkle is a con artist!! typical DEMOCRATIC, liberal, politics

  • Fed up

    Appearance of impropriety. What the f((k does that really mean? I looked it up in the pictionary and they had a photo of Prickwinkle.

  • Dora

    No better than Stroger.Raise Raise Raise where is the money comming from if were so broke?


    With all the budget cuts how could you even consider this? I thought we finally had a person who would be responsible in this position and move forward but with any pay increase we are going backwards again. If Preckwinkle thinks this person deserve this then let Preckwinkle take a 39% cut in her wages, benefits and pension!

  • Amazing

    F-ing hypocrite!!! Claims she wants to make all these cuts and now this!!! When the hell will this lousy city and state get an honest person in office??

    • iris

      Sad to say but never. This makes me so angry I could cry. Chicago is hopeless.

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  • Disgusted

    What a crook!! Nobody deserves a 39% increase. She should be ashamed of herself for this story even getting to a newspaper.

  • Jimi

    Same old same old. A female Todd in the making?

  • mike

    Your property tax dollars at “work”!!!!

  • Publius II

    Why the suprise….she backed Joe Berrios early on. No change in her true colors.

  • Rusty

    The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round. The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round.
    Everyone sing:
    The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round. The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round.

  • Herman

    How can she justify a 39% pay increase? That is ludicrous.
    If this job has changed so that it warrants a new title and substantial pay increase, then shouldn’t it be open for other qualified candidates to apply?
    Nothing changes in the Illinois political arena. Nothing.


    this person is another brainless idiot elected in chicago. make cuts in very important depts. and then give pay raises. this is done by a dumb stupid person. a lot of people at the states attorney’s office are going to be angry. then again this is CHICAGO WHERE THEY HAVE PLENTY OF MONEY TO BLOW AWAY.

  • stroger

    female stroger……..move on,same old government song and dance

  • tonibacker

    let me see. raise my property tax, cut everyones budget by125 yet give a donor a 111k a year job and thena 39% raise??????? kiss me before you “f” me toni. besides a bad decision your timing is god awful. thought you were smarter than that. 111k isnt enough for the job? if its not enough for the person get the “f” out. im sure if we look hard enough we can find a more than qualified person to do the job at 111k.

  • government gone bad

    responsibility or not,put it in prospective. 155k is more than quinn makes,probably more than toni makes and more than most elected officals/leaders. how much responsibility can she have?

  • Larry Schaibley

    What a waste of votes. I had high hopes that Preckwinkle had the balls to really do the right thing for Chicago. I guess Stroger taught her well before he left. Next she’ll be hiring her family and giving them 50% raises.

  • Jim

    My company laid off workers and I am now responsible for 2 peoples’ work. I am not complaining because I still have a job. I should call Toni to lobby my company to double my pay. She started out looking like she was going to change, but is a typical politician. The “I saved $100 of waste so I could spend $75 without taxpayers approval” mentality has to change.

  • tired of nepotisim

    Must be related,\.

  • Rick Schubert

    It would be wise for her put through a PAY FREEZE for the next two years or until the economy picks back up and the state’s budget deficit dissappears. Let’s be a GOOD leader.

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