CHICAGO (CBS) — Every Cook County government job should be reviewed to make sure employees are doing the work they’re supposed to, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Thursday following a 2 Investigator report into what appears to be personal servants on the public payroll.
Earlier this week, 2 Investigator Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association showed Treasurer Maria Pappas has a taxpayer-funded personal chauffeur who makes $94,000 a year. Pappas’s personal housekeeper also is on the county payroll as an “administrative analyst” making $57,000 annually, even though custodians are already paid to clean the treasurer’s office. Pappas pays her $4,500 a year out of her own pocket to clean her condo twice weekly.
“We need more scrutiny around the job titles people have, their job descriptions and their pay,” Preckwinkle told Zekman.
Emanuel Hatzisavas, the Pappas chauffeur, is listed as a “project leader” in the county budget but drives Pappas around. A CBS 2 undercover video caught him running her errands and waiting an hour and a half outside the trendy East Bank Club for her to finish a yoga class.
“All the job descriptions in the county are improper,” she said.
BGA director Andy Shaw says the report should spur action at the county level.
And that’s what Preckwinkle plans to do: a line-by-line audit over the next year to see how the county’s 23,000 employees are classified.
The scrutiny would determine whether employees are “performing functions that the county really needs or whether the things they are doing are marginal or superfluous,” Preckwinkle said.
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin says that’s long overdue.
The report “uncovered what is a major flaw in our budgeting, and it gives us now is the opportunity now to try to respond to it,” he said.
When asked about her driver, Pappas said he doubles as her security that she needs following threats to her and her office. As for Teresa Kawa, the office cleaner, Pappas says she keeps her county office immaculate. Pappas said she intends to keep both as office employees.
“There’s a sense of arrogance of power here that basically says I’m gonna do whatever I want the way I want it, taxpayer be damned,” Shaw, the BGA director, counters. “And that’s improper.”
Pappas says she has paid the county more than $17,000 over the last 10 years to cover any use of county resources for her personal use.
After the 2 Investigators report, Pappas says she met with Preckwinkle to express her support for making county job titles and salaries match an employee’s job duties.
Click here to visit the Better Government Association’s website.