Financial Waste in County Government - Task Force - Chicago Tribune
Task Force, B.G.A. Find 'Mound of Mismanagement'
". . .The job of unearthing the $10.5 million has already been completed for the Board. In a three-month investigation, the Tribune Task Force, working in cooperation with th Better Government Association, found $14,228,000 in waste in county government. . ."
". . .Evidence of how seriously county officials have taken this responsibility can be seen in their total ignorance of the prices of individual items of furniture they ordered. Even records in the County purchasing department failed, with few exceptions, to contain item-by-item details of cost. It was only after an exhaustive investigation that Tribune Task Force reporters and Better Government Association investigators were able to piece together a detailed accounting of expenditures so far. . ."
". . .The estimated financial waste found by a Tribune and Better Government Association investigation of inflated salaries and padded payrolls for 1,500 blue collar workers who maintain county buildings. . ."
Operations in Disarray
"It took only 60 seconds for the Cook County Board to approve without comment the $97,134 Civil Defence Commission budget during hearing last month. Altho the agency was formed to create a countywide plan to deal with natural or nuclear disasters, its operations are in such disarray that during an interview Director Patrick O'Block could not explain the activities of his own staff. . ."
$1.6 Million Wasted Yearly
". . .The officials have consistently turned a deaf ear to studies and suggestions which would have saved more than a million dollars a year by scrapping useless patronage positions on the heating plant staffs. An examination of the staffs revealed that 136 jobs could be slashed from the payroll at a savings of $1,638,382. . ."
"On March 21 the Cook County electorate will stand before another example of government waste - a voting machine. To put two machines in every county polling place in 1972, election officials plan to spend a record $1.6 million. That is a waste of at least half a million dollars, a Tribune Task Force-Better Government Association study has revealed. . ."
"In the decades that the Cook County Board controlled County Hospital, waste and mismanagement in the institution grew to such epidemic proportions that millions of tax dollars must now be spent to find a cure. . ."
". . .The county's Civil Service policies are designed to maintain, not reduce, patronage, an investigation by the Tribune Task Force and Better Government Association has found. Whether Republican or Democrat, the politicians have so abused the 75-year-old Civil Service law that merit employees today account for only 43 percent of the county's 14,846 job holders. . ."
"A new county purchasing department procedure, designed to curb the uncontrolled furniture spending sprees of county officials, has been ordered into immediate effect as a result of The Tribune Task Force and Better Government Association investigation into county waste. . ."
". . .Board members are not required to divorce themselves from these other activities, but the county budget explicitly states they are being paid for a full-time job. Some commissioners concede their work requires less than eight hours a day, but nearly all of them have a secretary and one or even two adminstrative assistants. . .
". . .Tribune Task Force members and B.G.A. investigators followed scores of road workers on their daily rounds in the last several months. They saw the ritual of men in a rut, working sporadically and listlessly with one goal in mind - the day's end. . ."
"A package of amendments calling for the immediate abolition of 306 jobs from the proposed 1972 Cook County budget at a saving of $3,417,316 was introduced yesterday at the public budget hearings of the County's Board's Finance Committee. . ."
Follow-Up: "Dunne Suspends 20 County Road Employes for Loafing on the Job" - Thomas Buch and William Currie - Chicago Tribune
"George W. Dunne, Cook County Board president, announced yesterday that 20 highway workers found loafing on the job by Tribune Task Force reporters and B.G.A. investigators will be suspended. . ."