The Electric Commentary

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Chicago Tradition Continues

A few weeks ago I did a rather lengthy post on the new Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. As scandalous as that story was, it has actually gotten worse:

Steele confirmed this week that she will exploit a legal loophole in the county's pension system to boost her retirement income. Let's leave for another day the question of whether something that's legal is therefore right. This much is unarguable: Steele can tell herself she's entitled to a pension sweetener that's rich enough to cause rapid-onset diabetes. She can't tell herself, though, that she's earned the big bucks she'll collect. Consider:

After almost 20 years as a member of the Cook County Board, Steele has spent four months as interim board president, earning a salary that calculates out to $170,000 a year. But her brief stint as president adds a huge boost to her county pension (which comes on top of the public pension she earned years ago as a schoolteacher). Slice and dice the numbers, county taxpayers, and they come down to this: Until this summer you were paying Bobbie Steele $85,000 a year to be a part-time county commissioner. Now you'll pay her $136,000 a year--plus an annual cost of living increase--to stay away.

You see, while John Stroger was incapacitated due to his stroke, and before his son Todd takes over, board member Bobbie Steele has been serving as interim Board President. While she is still holding the presidency she has decided to retire, meaning that she will not get a board member pension, she will get a board president pension.

Lovely. Guess what, it gets better. Since Steele is retiring from her board seat, and we already had an election, someone is going to have to replace her. Guess who?

Interim Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele said Wednesday that her son was the best person to replace her on the board, seeking to add a new chapter to the rich Chicago tradition of politicians pulling their children up the ranks.

Steele touted her son as she defended the decision to double her pension by retiring just three weeks after winning another term as commissioner.
(Emphasis mine.)

This is my fiefdom.


  • Well at least these plutocrats' spawn have yet to order an invasion of... let's say Gary... with only 6 squad cars... to set up a trucking contract for Daley's brother in law.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 8:49 PM  

  • Welcome to Chicago. We don't want nobody nobody sent.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:27 AM  

  • We should all remember that what Paul describes is only the tip of the iceberg. Every couple months another thing like this pops up.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 12:17 PM  

  • The pension I can understand. It stinks, but if its legal, she can do it, and it is very roughly similar to company pensions, in that it is based on the most an amployee ever earned. If you want to stretch it, it is almost like the bloated packages some CEOs get, even if they fail. Yes, this is taxpayer money, but, the rules were made by elected officials, and they can't be changed in the middle of the game.

    Her tapping her son to follow though, even if he was really the best person for the job, even if he was the most qualified civil servant in all the universe, the harm done by the appearance of impropriety, I think, would outweigh any good that he may ever do in that post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:19 PM  

  • Every couple months another thing like this pops up.

    And it's been going on for years and years and years. If you stay in Chicago, you choose this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:03 PM  

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