It may be too late to close the proverbial barn doors, but Tim Evans, Cook County's chief judge, is adamant about one thing: He's not in a silo.
The silo reference comes from County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who wants elected county officials to come out of their individual "silos" and work together to make county government more efficient.
Last week, Preckwinkle singled out Evans and Treasurer Maria Pappas as the two county officials who weren't getting with the program.
But Evans said Tuesday that he has agreed to all the budget cuts that Preckwinkle requested and has offered to provide any information Preckwinkle needs to monitor the success of her initiatives.
He also cited his own budget-trimming accomplishments: Trimming 464 people from the non-judicial part of the budget since he became chief judge in 2002 for a budget savings of $50 million.
Evans, who beat Preckwinkle in the Fourth Ward aldermanic races of 1983 and 1987 before losing to her in 1991, said he was troubled by an exchange of letters in which he thought he'd assured Preckwinkle he shared her goals, but she didn't seem persuaded.
"I thought that she would be happy to know that I am following the same goals and committing to it just as I have with everything else that she asked us to do," Evans said. "She wrote back and ... said, in effect, ... what you are going to be doing is operating in a silo without collaborating with other agencies, and with the Cook County Board.
"Nowhere ... did I say I wasn't going to cooperate with the other agencies," Evans said. "And my administration is replete with examples of working with all the other agencies, the clerk, the state's attorney, the public defender, the sheriff, and so forth and so on. But her whole letter is: You are going to be operating in a silo by yourself and you not going to be contributing somehow to these goals of transparency and accountability and fiscal responsibility."
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