Ald. Ricardo Muñoz is trying to trade up to Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, but doesn’t think the job he’s aiming for is that important. Specifically, he doesn’t think it’s important enough to warrant a chauffeur.
If elected, Muñoz vowed to Ward Room this week: “I will not have a driver. I will drive myself everywhere, like I do now.”
(Your Ward Room Blogger has ridden around Little Village in Muñoz’s SUV. His driving skills are excellent, although, like all politicians, he talks on the phone.)
Muñoz is criticizing incumbent Dorothy Brown not only for having an official driver, but for having other staff members chauffeur her around Cook County. In 2008, Fox News Chicago’s Dane Placko and those noodges at the Better Government Association reported that one of Brown’s systems analysts, Melvin Darby, picks her up, fetches her paper and delivers her mail. Brown’s response?
"He’s just being a gentleman. I have gentlemen who work for me," said Brown, who explained that it was also Darby’s job to "secure" her.
"If I have to drive myself into the downtown area and pay for parking, I'm not being a very effective elected official at my level if I have to do this… and if I have to drive myself out to Skokie?"
A Brown spokeswoman told the BGA this week that the clerk has one "driver/security person."
Among countywide officials, County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez have security, but Sheriff Tom Dart, Recorder of Deeds Gene Moore, Assessor Joe Berrios and Clerk David Orr do without.