When the sensitive question of merging the Cook County recorder of deeds office into that of the county clerk came up Tuesday, another peculiar footnote was added to the county's long history of political oddities.
Somehow, the board was just one commissioner shy of a quorum. So there could be no vote. Hmmm.
The Cook County Building
The question of merging the two offices came up Tuesday before the Finance Committee, which is a committee of the whole. That means all 17 county commissioners are supposed to show up. But just eight came. Nine are needed for a quorum.
Commissioner John Fritchey wants to put the question to the voters via referendum in November. He thinks it could save taxpayers $1 million a year. He says the county's tech people assure him the two different offices' computer systems could be blended just fine. But he can't get the question onto the ballot if the County Board doesn't OK it.
Another idea that's floating around would be an even bigger merger: Consolidate the county clerk, assessor and treasurer all into one office -- a tax administrator -- so someone with a tax problem could get every question answered in one place. Fritchey sees no conflict between the two ideas -- the recorder could be consolidated into the tax administrator's office as well.
But neither idea will become reality if there aren't enough commissioners around to vote for it.
For the record, the commissioners who showed up Tuesday were Fritchey, Jesus G. Garcia, Jeffrey R. Tobolski, John Daley (the Finance Committee chairman), Bridget Gainer, Larry Suffredin, Liz Gorman and Deborah Sims.
The question of merging the recorder of deeds and county clerk offices now is scheduled to be considered on March 1. But it's always possible some commissioners might happen to be out of the room when the vote is taken and the measure will wind up a vote short.
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