The Lap of Cook County Luxury

Hogs deny living high

Who says times are tough? It's all leather chairs and granite countertops these days for Cook County officials.

"The recession and Cook County budget crisis haven't stopped some county government officials from submitting a lavish 'wish list' to pay for redecorating, new computers and other office equipment," ABC7's I-Team reports.

"The county wish list - part of Todd Stroger's budget proposal - is 213 pages long, small print on both sides and chock full of the necessities of running county government, such as coffee tables, granite counter tops and high back leather chairs, even a new jogging track for jail inmates.

"One hundred and fifty two million dollars was requested for new equipment this year in a county that has a huge budget deficit, the highest sales tax in the nation and looming public service cuts." And county officials are hardly apologetic.

"We do owe it to the public to have appropriate facilities to work in," Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers told Chuck Goudie.

That makes sense. The public is probably very concerned about Rogers' working conditions.

Roger's Board of Review colleague Joe Berrios took a different tack, blaming the requests for leather chairs and granite countertops on clerical errors. Berrios did not name the clerk who (supposedly) mistakenly made the requests.

Even if new furniture is needed - it does happen - Goudie notes that "There is a county warehouse full of gently used furniture that department heads could receive for free if they would only ask."

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