Todd Stroger came back to work on Monday. He said the day after his surgery his was in contact with his office and had been ever since. He also said that he will only last until 1-2 o'clock back to work before he gets too tired. Dick Devine, Cook County State's Attorney met with Todd Stroger and had 150 of his prosecutors there as well. Recovering or not Dick Devine is ready for Todd Stroger to deal with the raise needed for his prosecutors.
Not the answer to the health care problem at Cook County
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said Tuesday it was not likely that the county's Provident Hospital would merge with Michael Reese Hospital, backing off from comments made earlier by his administration.
"You know what I say about a merger -- you don't really have a merger, someone takes someone else over," Stroger said during his first press conference following surgery for prostate cancer. "We'd have to take over them (Reese)."
Michael Reese is being squeezed out of its 37-acre lakefront campus south of the McCormick Place convention complex, and the county is in talks with Reese officials about joining forces.
County health bureau chief Robert Simon said Monday that merging the South Side hospitals at Provident was the mostly likely way of handling that.
But Stroger said a merger was full of complications involving unions and management. He said he would prefer to lease empty space at Provident, 500 E. 51st St., to Michael Reese and keep Provident running as a separate hospital.
"We don't use 45 percent of the space we have," Stroger said of Provident.
When Dick Devine, Cook County State's attorney appeared at the Cook County building he had 150 Cook County prosecutors giving him a rock star status greeting
The roughly 150 Cook County prosecutors who packed the county board room and a sweltering lobby on Tuesday got a mixed response to their demand for a 12.75 percent pay raise.
Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston) told them that he was trying to arrange a deal with board President Todd Stroger's administration that would tap unused funds from court settlements and other sources to provide the $8.7 million needed for the retroactive cost-of-living raise. Assistant state's attorneys have not received a cost-of-living raise for three years.
"I expect by the July 31 meeting we'll have an agreement ... that will lead to checks being issued in August," Suffredin said.
But Stroger (D-Chicago) said he knew nothing about that plan and intended to raise prosecutors' wages only after the county sells land around Oak Forest Hospital -- a process he warned would not happen soon.
"I made no promises with dates," Stroger said. "I didn't give (commissioners) a time frame because I didn't know a time frame."
The prosecutors said going three years without a pay hike has put them behind the salaries of their unionized counterparts in the county public defender's office. The average salary of an assistant state's attorney is about $69,000 while it's about $83,000 for an assistant public defender, according to the state's attorney's office.
Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) said he voted for Stroger's compromise budget in February only because Stroger promised to act quickly to sell the Oak Forest property and provide prosecutors with a raise.
"A promise was made to me, a promise was made to the state's attorney in front of me, and the president has broken that promise," Quigley said. "If the president's office had not dragged its feet ... that (raise) would be paid."
Stroger said he intends to honor that promise but nothing can happen overnight.