Preckwinkle Reflects on One Year in Office

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle on Tuesday marked a full year in office.

During a midday speech to the City Club in Chicago, she spoke of proud moments -- like passing two budgets -- and lamented on some of the tough choices she's had to make in the process.

"I never imagined that I would walk in the door my first year and have to put over 1,000 people out of work," she said. "I know that most of these people were ordinary, hard-working residents and it's very difficult to accept that."

Still, she said those were necessary casualties in a war against a budget in the red. As she said, getting the county's financial house in order was job number one.

She slashed departmental budgets, reduced wages (including her own), asked for furlough days and demanded accountability from those in her purview.

"Totaling $800 million in savings to the taxpayers, the past two budget reaffirm my commitment to fiscal responsibility to Cook County government," she said. "It's a commitment I'm determined to keep and that determination is bolstered by the support I've received from residents."

In a 44-page report (.pdf), with a preface handwritten by Preckwinkle, she lays out "what we have done, what we are working on and where we are going."

Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times have offered extensive reviews of Preckwinkle's first year in office.

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