Stroger: Worst. Hack. Ever.

Cook County Board President's incompetence is unrivaled

Rarely has the incompetence of a single public official been so neatly encapsulated as has that of Todd Stroger in the Donna Dunnings fiasco.

After all, how many times does the chief executive of such a large unit as Cook County government demonstrate an inability not only to hire, but to fire -- and to make oneself the far larger object of scorn instead of the woman-hating instigator facing criminal charges?

But that's the position Stroger now finds himself in, digging himself a deeper and deeper hole just as he tries to remake his image in time for re-election.

Stroger reportedly hired the troubled Tony Cole because he was impressed his service as a waiter at Ruth Chris's Steak House - reminiscent of the time Stroger gave a patronage job to a work-out partner at the East Bank Club. It's worse than patronage because nobody sent these guys.

Apparently the county didn't do a background check on Cole, which would have turned up a string of entanglements with law enforcement and a pattern of allegations of violence against women.

After Dunnings - Todd's cousin - bailed Cole of out of jail twice, Stroger fired her.

And yet, in a combative interview with Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight last night, Stroger once again insisted that Dunnings had done nothing wrong. So he fired someone who had done nothing wrong? Sounds like grounds for an appeal or lawsuit.

"Stroger Says He Fired Cousin To Help Her," the Sun-Times reports this morning.

To help her do what, land a big settlement?

Worse, Stroger tried to downplay Cole's criminal problems by saying that "I'm sure employees get arrested all the time," begging two questions:

1. In what companies? 

2. So the county payroll really is full of crooks?

Stroger tried to do damage control this morning by issuing a statement that only makes things worse.

"The President’s intent was to express that of the twenty-four thousand Cook County employees, his office is not informed of every worker who may be arrested," the statement said.

Shouldn't his office be informed of every arrest? And why, then, was Cole given special treatment?

Cole, in fact, alleges that he first called Stroger to get bailed out of jail, even as Stroger denies knowing anything about Cole's recent problems.

"The President holds a high regard for all Cook County employees and regrets any misinterpretation of his statement," the statement this morning went on to say.

So it's everybody else's fault - again - for misinterpreting what Stroger was trying to say?

Todd Stroger once said that his job was not hard. But it is. It's an extraordinarily difficult job, and it's beyond obvious that he isn't up to it.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review. He'd like to remind taxpayers to hold accountable those who placed Todd Stroger in a job he hadn't earned - you know who they are - and who enabled his administration up to this point.

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