Chicago Sun-Times
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Friends and family matter deeply in Cook County politics, even in choosing the judge who swears you in

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At swearing-in ceremonies for elected officials, the focus is on the inaugural speeches. But the political pedigree of the judges who administer the oaths of office also can often tell you a lot about the newly minted public servants.

Take Patrick Daley Thompson, the mayoral grandson and nephew who this week became the first family member of his generation to become an elected official, as a commissioner for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

When he was sworn in Tuesday, Thompson repeated the words of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maura Slattery Boyle.

Boyle is the sister of Patrick Slattery, indicted in 2005 and convicted the next year on federal corruption charges for his role in a patronage-hiring scheme in the City Hall administration of Thompson's uncle Richard M. Daley.

After Slattery's arrest, another Thompson uncle - Cook County Commissioner and 11th Ward Democratic committeeman John Daley - told the Sun-Times the Slatterys were "great friends of our family, very, very close."

John Daley had helped Boyle win election as a county judge, and he lived down the block from Slattery.

Slattery was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison and was released from custody in April 2010, records show.

But Thompson's other newly elected colleague on the Water Rec board had even closer ties to the jurist who swore her in Tuesday. Commissioner Kari K. Steele's father - Illinois appellate judge and former 6th Ward Ald. John O. Steele - administered the oath of office for her.

With that formality completed, Kari K. Steele stood at the lectern and drew laughter from the audience when she said, "Thank you dad, for swearing me in."

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