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December 2010 Archives

Cook County sheriff, Part II: How firing got easier

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Here's a lesson Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he learned while restructuring personnel policies in his office: Making it harder to fire some employees makes it easier to fire others who deserve it.

As noted in the BackTalk blog on Monday and in an earlier Sun-Times editorial, the Cook County sheriff's office was the first local governmental unit to become what the courts call "substantially compliant" with the Shakman decree, a court edict designed to end patronage hiring and firing. The sheriff did it by modernizing his personnel policies.

In a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board earlier this month, Dart said putting hiring and firing on a professional basis has made it easier to rid the department of those who abuse personnel policies.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart admits it: When he was chief of staff for the previous sheriff, he was part of the problem.

The problem? People's job titles often didn't match their responsibilities.

"I was chief of staff in title, but my actual job was that I worked on jail overcrowding," Dart said earlier this month in a meeting with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. "I did nothing [as a chief of staff]. I never had staff meetings. The county budgets were such that the titles that people had did not reflect their jobs. I was an example of that.

" I was working rather diligently on an issue that is very important, the jail, but I wasn't a traditional chief of staff."

Abe Lincoln was born in Kentucky, but his presidential library is in Illinois.

Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois, but his presidential library is in California.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, but his presidential library should be in Illinois.

Specifically in Chicago, on the Hyde Park campus of the University of Chicago.

Hawaii, though its legislature recently passed a resolution calling on Obama to locate his library there someday, can't even compete.

Not once you get pass our man's serious body-surfing days.

Chicago is Obama's home by choice, where he came of age. It is where he met his wife, started his family, worked as a community organizer and professor, and first ran for office.

Obama announced his candidacy for president in Springfield, not Honolulu. On the night he won, he celebrated in Chicago, not Maui.

And could there be a better fit than the University of Chicago -- next door to the Museum of Science and Industry -- for a presidential library and museum designed for tourism, scholarship and public service? The synergies with the university's graduate schools of law, economics, social work and public policy are obvious.

We envision a library as substantial as the president himself.

Snow-bound now and then, but substantial.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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