Preckwinkle to take office today, ready to tackle budget
BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Reporter email@example.com
A maintenance worker removes departing Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's name from the county building executive offices and replaces it (below) with Toni Preckwinkle.
Today, Toni Preckwinkle takes over as Cook County Board president -- the first woman elected to the post -- after she and the 17 county commissioners are sworn in.
Preckwinkle, the 4th Ward Chicago alderman whose resignation is effective today, has said she'll clean house to rid the administration of outgoing president Todd Stroger's political hires. Through a spokeswoman she said this weekend: "The goal is to assemble a diverse, talented team of people. We are still working on putting together that team."
Preckwinkle and her transition team have been busy working on the budget and how to close what she estimates is a nearly $500 million deficit in the county's $3 billion operation. She'll introduce a spending plan to county commissioners in January.
Preckwinkle, 63, won't be the only new face as three new commissioners join the board: John Fritchey, the outgoing state representative, is taking the seat of retiring Democratic Commissioner Forrest Claypool; McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski, a Democrat, beat incumbent Tony Peraica; and Jesus Garcia unseated fellow Democrat Joseph Mario Moreno in the 7th District.