The Cook County Board of Commissioners today turned down by one vote a proposal to merge the recorder of deeds and county clerk offices.
Commissioner John Fritchey had amended the proposal to delay implementation until Dec. 5, 2016, but that didn't get him all the votes he needed. The measure failed by a 9-8 vote.
The idea has been floating around for decades, but making it happen is another matter.
Fritchey had estimated the savings at $1 million a year. By coincidence, the board's vote came on the same day that the semiannual installment of Cook County property taxes was due.
County Commissioner Larry Suffredin said Thursday afternoon he thought the change to a four-year phase-in made the proposal virtually irrelevant. He said at the next board meeting, March 13, he will introduce a proposal to merge all of the property tax responsibilities of the treasurer, assessor, clerk and a tiny piece of the recorder's office (recording tax liens) into a single office called tax administrator.
He said he would like to see the office an appointed one, but -- for legal reasons -- it probably has to be an elected post if the County Board is going make the change, rather than the Legislature.
The Board of Review can't be included, because it is supposed to be independent, he said.
On the plus side Thursday, the board approved naming the criminal courthouse at 26th and California "The Honorable George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building." Some people complained they liked the gritty sound of "26th and Cal," but renaming the building for Judge Leighton forestalls the possibility of selecting someone less worthy. Leighton was widely respected.
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