Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle denied Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown’s request for a higher salary Wednesday.
In her appeal to Preckwinkle and the Cook County Board of Commissioners Wednesday, Brown claimed that, among other things, there was a “gross inequity” between her salary and that of other county officials.
“President Preckwinkle is not planning to introduce the ordinance on behalf of Clerk Brown,” Preckwinkle spokesman Frank Shuftan said in a statement. “The Clerk of the Circuit Court’s salary, like the salaries of all separately elected County officials, is set by law. Clerk Brown’s salary is the same as that of the County Treasurer, the County Clerk and the County Recorder of Deeds. It is more than the salaries of County Board Commissioners and Board of Review Commissioners.”
In her letter, Brown claimed that her $105,000 salary is lower than other Cook County public safety officials, like public defenders ($194,574), state’s attorneys ($192,789), sheriffs ($160K) and chief judges ($188,076), despite the fact that some manage fewer than the Clerk's 1,684 employees.
Preckwinkle’s office cited the county’s dire fiscal situation in her decision not to grant Brown a raise.
“These are very difficult fiscal times for Cook County and all local governments, and not the appropriate time to discuss raises for elected officials,” Shuftan added.
In 2015, Brown's cell phone was seized by the FBI as part of a federal investigation into a 2011 land deal involving a campaign donor. Brown and her husband made tens of thousands of dollars from the deal.
Nevertheless, the embattled Brown recently beat out Ald. Michelle Harris and attorney Jacob Meister in the March Democratic primary. She will face Republican Diane Shapiro in the Nov. 15 general election. Brown was first elected to the role in 2000.
Additionally, a former Brown employee pleaded guilty last month to lying to a federal grand jury about the sale of jobs and promotions within the clerk’s office. Sivasubramani Rajaram admitted to lying about the corruption in Brown’s office last July. He will be sentenced in September and faces up to 16 months in prison.