WBEZ | Larry Suffredin http://www.wbez.org/tags/larry-suffredin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sheriff decries immigration detainer ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260 <p><p><img alt="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed changes to the measure. (WBEZ/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/CountyBoardscaled.JPG" style="margin: 6px 18px 5px 12px; float: right; width: 349px; height: 244px;" title="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed amendments to a measure that frees some jail inmates wanted by ICE. (WBEZ/File)">Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he wants changes to an ordinance that frees some jail inmates wanted by immigration authorities. But the law’s supporters say they still have the votes to keep it intact.</p><p>The ordinance, approved last September, prohibits the sheriff from complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. Those are requests that the county hold specified inmates up to two business days longer than their criminal cases require. The detainers gave ICE extra time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>The ordinance has come under fire as news outlets have focused on a convicted felon who completed his probation before going to jail on charges of killing a man in a Northwest Side hit-and-run incident last year. ICE named the inmate on a detainer. After the ordinance passed, he posted bond, walked free and went missing.</p><p>On Thursday, a County Board committee held a four-hour hearing on proposals to honor the detainers for inmates who are potentially dangerous. At the hearing, Dart said the jail had released 346 inmates named on ICE detainers since the ordinance passed. He said 11 of those ended up arrested again on a variety of charges.</p><p>Dart also voiced support for one of those proposals, an amendment introduced last month by Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett) that would require compliance with the detainers for inmates who appeared on a federal terrorist list or who faced various felony charges. Dart said Schneider’s proposal would target inmates who “have shown that they’re a danger.” Dart criticized another proposal, an amendment filed by Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) and John Daley (D-Chicago), that would give the sheriff discretion to honor detainers.</p><p>Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who chairs the committee, told WBEZ he opposes both amendments and said neither has enough support to pass. But Suffredin, who voted for the ordinance, said he is open to “cleaning it up to give the sheriff clearer discretion” on whether to honor detainers. Suffredin said any committee votes on amending the ordinance would be next month.</p><p>County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, interviewed by WBEZ during the hearing, pointed out that many citizens get out of jail and cause trouble, too.</p><p>“People who are accused of very serious crimes are given bail every day because a judge makes a determination that they’re not a flight risk and they’re not a danger to our community,” she said. “So if you have a concern about people who are accused of serious crimes being released back into our community, it’s got to be broader concern than the two or three percent of them who are undocumented.”</p><p>Preckwinkle talked up a study that’s looking for ways to improve the bond system. The county’s five-member Judicial Advisory Council is carrying out the study and planning to make recommendations within six months.</p><p>The ordinance, sponsored by Commissioner Jesús García (D-Chicago), prohibits the jail from honoring the detainers unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement — something ICE says it doesn’t do. The law’s supporters say the detainers eroded community trust in local police and violated inmates’ due-process rights. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer called compliance with the detainers “voluntary.”</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260 Fees, tax increases arise in Cook County budget http://www.wbez.org/story/fees-tax-increases-arise-cook-county-budget-93599 <p><p>A Cook County commissioner says he's surprised at some new fees and tax increases in the county's recent budget proposal. Cook County Board&nbsp;President Toni Preckwinkle estimates that some of these increases could bring in more than $5 million.</p><p>Commissioner Larry Suffredin said the president failed to make some increases clear in early budget talks.</p><p>"That was failing in this presentation in that only the larger numbers were mentioned, not the smaller numbers, which add up to being large numbers," he said.</p><p>The Evanston commissioner says he doesn't have a problem with some of the budget suggestions, but thinks the increases are too high.</p><p>Preckwinkle proposes a new licensing fee for jukeboxes, pool tables and video poker, along with doubling vehicle stickers for unincorporated Cook County residents.&nbsp;She's also suggesting an increase in parking rates at unincorporated county garages.</p><p>Budget negotiations begin next week.</p></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 23:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/fees-tax-increases-arise-cook-county-budget-93599 Furlough debate threatens to stymie budget negotiations for Cook County board http://www.wbez.org/story/furlough-debate-threatens-stymie-budget-negotiations-cook-county-board-92336 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-22/beaversstroger_ap_mspencergreen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Debate over furlough days threatens to stymie the upcoming budget negotiations for the Cook County Board. Between July 27 and September 7 of this year, five of the 17 Cook County Board commissioners - Earlean Collins, Robert Steele, William Beavers, Deborah Sims, and Joan Murphy - wrote letters to the Cook County comptroller, requesting to be reimbursed for the unpaid days off.</p><p>In his letter, Commissioner Beavers wrote, "As an elected official I am not required to take furlough days therefore I am requesting that the money deducted thus far be returned to me to correct this error." His colleague, Commissioner Murphy wrote, "I have been informed by the office of the State's Attorney that a commissioner's salary cannot be increased or decreased during a term in office."</p><p>On Wednesday, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/battle-lines-are-drawn-between-cook-county-board-commissioners-over-furlough-days-92284">Commissioner Beavers said</a> he was using his furlough days to protest President Toni Preckwinkle's lack of financial support for southern Cook County hospitals, a sentiment his colleague Earlean Collins echoed.&nbsp;</p><p>But on Thursday, Larry Suffredin called out Beavers, saying his claim about the hospitals is a "total falsehood," and that any reference to a constitutional right on behalf of commissioners to keep their salary steady was inaccurate.</p><p>"When we voted for this budget, the hospital was in there, and it was the closure of the hospital that was part of their budget, and he knew that," Suffredin said. "He makes things up, as he does all the time.&nbsp;This man you cannot believe on any matter."</p><p>Suffredin called the five commissioners acting against the furloughs an "organized Stroger team making one last stand, led by Commissioner Beavers," a reference to former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who lost a re-election bid in 2010.</p><p>"(Beavers) hasn't been able to lead anybody to victory in years," added Suffredin. "This is the Stroger people versus those who want to reform county government....These are the same five that are opposed to anything good we've tried to do for years."</p><p>Some of Suffredin's colleagues who have agreed to take the furlough days say they doubt the five protesting commissioners are part of an organized effort. Many do agree, however, on cutting the budgets of the commissioners who are asking for reimbursements.&nbsp;</p><p>"They'll get that much less than everyone else gets," said Comissioner Gregg Goslin.</p><p>"My intention is to cut these five commissioners' budget by the amount they didn't save in this year's," Suffredin added, explaining that in the budget for 2011, all commissioners received equal budgets, a change from previous years. "We also passed a resolution that said that if you did not meet the revenue projections required for your office, we would take that out of your next budget. So whatever they don't take in pay cuts this year, I intend to fight to cut their budgets for next year."</p><p>Many commissioners remain optimistic about the budget negotiations, during which the board will grapple with a anticipated shortfall of $315 million. According to the President's office, a commissioner's salary is $85,000 a year, and the ten total furlough and shutdown days cuts 4.8 percent of their budget.</p><p>The commissioners expect to receive Preckwinkle's proposed budget by mid-October.</p><p>Earlier this week, Preckwinkle suggested that&nbsp;she might call for the entire Cook County government to shutdown for ten days next fiscal year, instead of doing five furlough and five shutdown. The president called it a matter of greater equity.</p><p>But Commissioner Timothy Schneider argued that the name doesn't make a difference, while his colleague Daley pointed out that shutdown days are easier to handle because "It's very clear no one's here."</p><p>"My concern is, if they're saying no to these, to five furlough days, are they going to say no to (shutdown days)?" added Daley.</p><p>As for this debate slowing down budget negotiations, Suffredin said he wasn't worried about it working out.</p><p>"It's probably good to get it out of the way now before we get into the budget process," said Suffredin.</p><p>But Goslin said, "I'm sure there will be a lot more furlough days next year."</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 16:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/furlough-debate-threatens-stymie-budget-negotiations-cook-county-board-92336 Cook County commissioners differ on how sales tax impacts budget http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/cook-county-commissioners-differ-how-sales-tax-impacts-budget <p><p>Cook County commissioners are scheduled to discuss a new budget this week and they're still at odds over the effects of a controversial sales tax.</p><p>Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle campaigned on rolling back a one percentage point increase in the sales tax. In her first budget since taking office, Preckwinkle's scaling back part of it - a move she says is contributing to the county's $487 million deficit.</p><p>Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin says there's more to the shortfall.</p><p>&quot;The repeal of the sales tax is part of the issue here, but the mismanagement of the prior administration is really the story of this budget,&quot;&nbsp;Suffredin said.</p><p>But Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy says any layoffs or cuts in services that are approved in the budget are due to the sales tax reduction.</p><p>&quot;It was the newspapers. The newspapers brainwashed the people into thinking this was the worst thing that ever happened to Cook County. It wasn't,&quot;&nbsp;Murphy said.</p><p>Commissioners are scheduled to address the budget Friday.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/cook-county-commissioners-differ-how-sales-tax-impacts-budget