Stroger Dumping Friends and Family Plan

County Board President kicks his cousin from $159,000 job

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Apr 17, 2009  |  Updated 11:32 AM CDT
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Todd Stroger on His Cousin's Resignation

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger fired a convicted felon for failing to make his previous crime record known. Now he's dumped his cousin.

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Todd Stroger on His Cousin's Resignation

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger talks to WLS' Don and Roma about the firing of his cousin, the Board's CFO.
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Here is the nearly impossible spot Todd Stroger is in: The more he does the right thing, the more he solidifies his reputation as a hack because of how insincere he seems.

We told you yesterday about the new Todd Stroger, willing to cut the county sales tax (if only by the slimmest of slivers), fire troublesome patronage workers and make nice with the media.

Today comes news that he forced out the county's chief financial officer -- his first cousin.

What, no more Friends & Family Plan at the county?

At the time Stroger promoted his cousin, Donna Dunnings, to her $142,000-a-year job, he went so far as to tout her academic record at the University of Arkansas to defend his pick. The man she replaced was given a $71,000 raise to fill a new job Stroger created for him.

Stroger noted that Dunnings would not take a pay raise in her new post, which she didn't. Until she did - a $17,000-a-year hike.

Apparently, with his re-election bid underway, Dunnings finally went too far for Stroger.

"Stroger spokesman Sean Howard says the resignation follows Stroger's firing of the patronage worker after learning he had a felony criminal conviction," AP reports. "Howard says that after the man was told he was fired, he made 'explosive' allegations against Dunnings.

"Stroger won't detail the allegations or provide information about the relationship between the man and Dunnings. But he says Dunnings has bailed the man out of jail a number of times."

In one sense, Stroger seems to be learning. But in another sense, it's worse to have a conniving politicians playing for advantage in an election year than one who simply doesn't know any better because at least you know what you're going to get with the latter.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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