August 15th is not so far away
THE SHUTDOWN SCENARIO: The comptroller's office, which pays the state's bills, says the deadline for getting a budget in place without posing a risk to state services is now August 15.
That's when school aid payments are supposed to be sent to hundreds of school districts across the state.
If no budget is agreed upon by then, there will not be enough money in the state's checking account to make those and other payments.
Other state services would be affected too.
But, various state agencies say they can probably get by for a couple of weeks before employees start to miss their paychecks.
Meanwhile back at the County
Cook County will have a more powerful, more independent inspector general able to investigate all corners of county government under an ordinance given preliminary approval today.
A stronger independent inspector general’s office was a campaign pledge of Board President Todd Stroger, whose office claimed a “major win” with the 10-to-4 vote in the board’s finance committee. The lopsided vote makes it likely the measure will get final passage from the full board next week.
“It’s a milestone in county government, and we’ll be able to root out illegal activity wherever it is in county government,” Stroger spokeswoman Ibis Antongiorgi said.
The inspector general’s authority will extend to employees in all county offices, including those of separately elected officials such as the commissioners, the state’s attorney and the county clerk.
Opponents called the measure a “camouflage” that was unneeded and would accomplish little.
Several attempts to weaken or delay the ordinance failed. Commissioners were concerned about giving the inspector general power to investigate other officials — especially themselves.
“You can be accused of something and by the time you get around to responding, you’ve already lost the election,” Commissioner Joan Murphy (D-Crestwood) said. “Who protects the elected officials in this type of environment?”
Murphy’s proposal to exempt all elected officials from investigation failed, but commissioners did pass an amendment that requires anyone making a complaint against an elected official to certify their complaint under oath. Penalties for lying would include fines of up to $5,000 and six months in jail.
Why would Commissioner Murphy want to exempt all elected officials? Isn't this where most of the problems with questionable activities are? Shouldn't anyone getting a Cook County paycheck be treated the same? Why are there exceptions? Exceptions and special rules for the ones who make the rules?