It appears Todd is the biggest offender of patronage

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has forced unqualified people into jobs on the public defender's payroll.

Those charges were made Wednesday by Public Defender Ed Burnette, who is fighting to keep a job he was appointed to five years ago by Stroger's father, John Stroger.

One supervisor hired by Stroger was so unqualified, Burnette said, "I had to find something for him to do" because he couldn't do public defender work. Attorney Richard Velazquez was hired to defend the poor but never saw a courtroom, instead becoming Stroger's attorney.

Burnette said while his office defends the poor, Stroger believes certain jobs there "belong to him and he can fill them as he sees fit." He adds that people were "sent to our office" for jobs based on their political connections, not legal background.

Burnette said John Stroger largely kept politics out of his office, but that has changed under Todd Stroger.

Todd Stroger defends his right to fill some positions based on political patronage. His spokesman Gene Mullins said Burnette "never once reached out to President Stroger and told him he had people not doing their job. That's part of his failure to effectively manage his office."

A hearing is set for next week on what Todd Stroger claims is "just cause" for firing Burnette. While a majority of the county board initially supported the move, that number is dwindling.

Stroger's office also recently launched an investigation into Burnette's hiring of one-time political candidate Jonathan Bedi -- who applied for a public defender job years ago, but only got a call while challenging state Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) in the February primary.

Bedi's hiring was first questioned in a Chicago Sun-Times story in March, as was Stroger's hiring of high-paid administrator Ron Burleson, who once worked at Stroger's health club. Stroger's office has failed to answer a standing request for Burleson's resume.


  1. Anonymous said...
    I am also a PD and everyone knows that our hire dates depend on the budget. Many attorneys who interviewed two years ago were put on a "hire list" but did not get hired until the budget gets passed. Thus, people who are getting hired in 2008 actually interviewed in 2005 or 2006. Government at its best.
    KittyBowTie1 said...
    The Toddler was supposed to meet with Palatine to talk about their desire to get the hell out of Cook County and join Lake County. He did not show up.

    To out Patronage Da Mayor is truly a pathetic accomplishment.
    SP Biloxi said...
    "Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has forced unqualified people into jobs on the public defender's payroll."

    It's time for Urkel to go.. People can't find jobs today and this nimrod has unqualified people in jobs, the friends and family plan.

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