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Can Cook County survive with one less elected official?

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Is Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey on the right track when he suggests merging the offices of recorder of deeds and county clerk?

In Downstate McLean County they evidently think so. Last week, the county board there voted to send the same issue to referendum on the November ballot.

John Fritchey (John H. White~Sun-Times)

Fritchey already has introduced an ordinance backing a Cook County merger, which he thinks will save the county $1 million a year.

But an affirmative vote isn't a given, and Fritchey expects a close vote. Cook County replaced its elected coroner with an appointed medical examiner back in the 1970s, but in general it's hard to cut back on bureaucracy. The vote will be held by the finance committee, which is a committee of the whole, so how the committee votes will be a good indication of its fate at the hands of the full board.

Three-term incumbent Recorder Eugene "Gene" Moore is not running for re-election. State Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Chicago) wants his job and has no opponents on the ballot in the March primary, so she seems a likely replacement.

The recorder maintains records on real estate sales for the county. The clerk administers suburban elections and keeps track of birth, marriage and death records. The clerk also assists property owners in redeeming delinquent taxes and takes minutes of County Board meetings.

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At least some of the people in the recorder's office know what they're doing. If a merger kept them at it, that would be good. But if the merger disturbed the operation, that could create a big problem.

He says it'll save $1 million/yr, but has anyone figured out what the 'change' is going to cost? It sounds like a great idea, but, I would think the County Clerk would have a say as to what the needs will be from that end if it was to take on this additional work load.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Frisbie published on December 29, 2011 3:51 PM.

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