Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nepotistic Nonsense in Cook County

Patronage sucks, both literally and figuratively.

I am chafed and incensed that Cook County officials get away with this kind of nepotistic nonsense: a 12 percent pay hike for the CFO--who happens to be the first cousin of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. She'll make $160,000 after the $18,000 raise.

In a CBS2 news video, Donna Dunnings defended her exorbitant increase, saying, "I work 12- to 17-hour days...the employees of Cook County see me more than my two children...I do have 20 years of experience, and I am the first African-American as well as the first female" to hold the job.

If Dunnings really does consistently work 12- to 17-hour days it doesn't mean she should get a raise--it means she should take some time and personnel management courses. The woman needs to learn to delegate!

And I don't even believe that she works those kinds of hours. A 17-hour work-day leaves seven hours for sleeping, eating, peeing, transportation, and everything else. I call bullshit.

A county government official doesn't deserve a raise that's nine percent higher than her subordinates unless she can point to prodigious accomplishments and documented improvements in county government. Working hard doesn't cut it--she's supposed to work hard. Nor does having the right amount of experience; again, that's a given. And especially not having the right race or gender! Some of those qualities might help her get the job--but they have nothing to do with deserving a massive, disproportionate raise.

Dunnings' defense of her inappropriate, selfish, excessive raise smacks of entitlement, which of course is the sleazy, insubordinate stepchild of patronage. This is just one example of patronage sucking resources out of the county budget, which has already gained national notoriety for having the highest cumulative sales tax rate in the U.S.

In general, the art of government consists of taking
as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to

Ms. Dunning, Mr. Stroger--Voltaire was being sardonic! He didn't intend for you to take it to heart. Can you re-think your philosophy of government, please?


Anonymous said...

I don't know if 180k is a fair salary for a county cfo or not but there are certainly surveys available that could indicate what other similar size counties are paying their cfo. However, I will say that the cfo of Cook county is the financial leader of that community and should have the skill set to lead others to achieve the financial and strategic goals set out by the community and that does not necessarily include working 12-17 hours a day if you have qualified staff properly motivated, trained and supported to do their jobs

E. Peevie said...

Anon, I agree whole-heartedly. That's what irks me most--that she's not defending her raise based on achieving financial and strategic goals, but on givens.

And also, when the prez of the county board hired his cousin for the job, one defense of her hiring was that she would save the county so much money because she'd take a much lower salary than her predecessor. Now she'll be making more than him--and all in the context of the county raising taxes to the highest in the nation.