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THE WATCHDOGS: Chief Cook County Judge Timothy Evans has his two daughters on payroll

Chief Cook County Judge Timothy C. Evans   | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Chief Cook County Judge Timothy C. Evans | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 23, 2012 6:08AM

As Cook County’s chief circuit judge, Timothy C. Evans has been his twin daughters’ boss since 2001, but an aide says he steers clear of any matter involving them.

Catherine Evans is paid $95,307.68 a year as a legal systems analyst in the Office of the Chief Judge, county payroll records show. She was making $39,255.84 when her father became chief judge. She serves as assistant director of a program that provides free legal help to people trying to become guardians of minors.

Cynthia Evans makes $89,627.20 as deputy jury administrator. She was making $42,224 when her father became chief judge. She oversees the jury assembly room at the Daley Center.

The 41-year-old twins have received promotions since their father was elected chief judge in 2001, after nine years on the bench, the payroll records show. Catherine Evans got a promotion a year after her father succeeded Donald O’Connell as chief judge. And Cynthia Evans has subsequently gotten three promotions, the records show.

The chief judge didn’t return calls seeking comment.

His office’s human resources administrator, Bruce Wisniewski, says the two women are good employees.

“Following his election, Chief Judge Evans instructed staff that he would not be involved in any matters concerning his daughters’ employment with the court,” Wisniewski says. “He directed staff to handle all such matters administratively and routinely, as they would for any other employee.”

Initially brought in as summer hires in 1993, the two women came on as full-time employees in 1995, under then-Chief Judge O’Connell.

Cook County bars elected county government officials from having family members on the payroll, but the county Ethics Board — which enforces the nepotism ban — doesn’t have jurisdiction over judges.

It’s up to the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board to enforce the rules for judges regarding nepotism and other matters that come under the Code of Judicial Conduct.

According to the Code of Judicial Conduct, “A judge should exercise the power of appointment on the basis of merit, avoiding nepotism and favoritism.”

The board’s online listing of cases doesn’t indicate that the agency has ever investigated a complaint involving nepotism. Its executive director declined to comment.

Dan Mihalopoulos

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