Audit Slams Management At Forest Preserve District

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cook County Forest Preserve District is the subject of a highly critical audit to be made public Wednesday.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, the Chicago Tribune says the review was ordered by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle after she took office last year, and replaced all the top officials at the forest preserve, including the district superintendent.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports

The newspaper said among other problems, the audit found the forest preserve is so poorly organized that its workers have not received performance reviews in at least 15 years.

The audit also uncovered cases of jobs overlapping, and many employees unclear as to exactly what their job duties are, the Tribune reported.

Preckwinkle is expected to announce reform measures as she unveils the audit Wednesday.

The operations of the Forest Preserve District have been the subject of complaints among County Board members for many years.

Back in 2005, under late County Board President John H. Stroger Jr., the district was criticized by many commissioners for having a bloated budget, and bringing on suburban Democratic committeeman Sam Simone to oversee the refurbishment of picnic tables for a salary of $68,000 per year.

Among the strongest critics of the budget and management practices at the Forest Preserve was then-Commissioner Forrest Claypool, now president of the Chicago Transit Authority, who said waste and bloat in the budget could instead be directed toward refurbishing the district’s decaying toboggan slides. But in 2005, the district voted not to fund the slides, and they were all torn down within the following three years.

The Forest Preserve District oversees 68,000 acres of forests, prairie and wetlands in Cook County, as well as Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

  • fitz

    Any funds should be used to clean up the forest preserves of all of the perverts that have made the woods their personal playground.

  • kch

    There’s plenty of work to be done, for example II believe the county authorities ought to pay more attention to what is taking place in the Cook County Forest Preserves. I’ve observed suspicious activity (deals?) going on in parking areas and the property nearby i.e. Midlothian Reservoir, Axehead Lake,……

  • LOTD

    How about the forest preserve employees growing pot?? Crook County really knows how to hire qualified help!!

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