Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri has distributed a communication to fellow commissioners asking them to sign on to a resolution aimed at Springfield, “petitioning the state legislature and the governor to change the position of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk from an elected one to an appointed one.” Silvestri reached out to colleagues May 6, and he intends to introduce a resolution on the issue at the May 11th Board of Commissioners meeting.
The current clerk, Dorothy Brown, recently made headlines for requesting a pay hike for her position, which Board President Toni Preckwinkle flat out denied. Brown won her party’s nomination for re-election earlier this year despite a federal investigation into her office and Cook County Democrats pulling their endorsement. In a letter addressed to the Board of Commissioners and President Preckwinkle, Brown said her $105,000 salary “is significantly less than ALL of the other Cook County Public Safety officials [Public Defender, State’s Attorney, Sheriff, and Chief Judge], two of which have fewer employees.”
Brown cited two male Clerks of Court in neighboring DuPage and Lake Counties, who earn more but manage fewer employees, which “possibly, speaks to the old adage of women having to do double the work, and these cases, 6.5 times the work, and receive less pay,” her letter reads.
In March, Preckwinkle asked all departments to cut back on personnel spending by 0.5% and non-personnel by 3%, effective until the end of the fiscal year on November 30, in part to fill a hole left by the lack of a state budget. Silvestri was traveling yesterday and could not respond to Aldertrack’s request for comment, but did tell the Sun-Times he was opposed to a raise for Brown or other elected officials. Commissioners make $85,000 a year.