Ahead of today’s full Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting, scheduled for 11:00 a.m., committees will meet to consider a $4.1 million contract with Pepsi for County and Forest Preserve facilities, the status of the county’s pension fund, and a report on the county’s M/WBE contracts.

Contract Compliance Committee

An annual report on Cook County’s Minority and Women Owned Business (M/WBE) participation is the only agenda item for the Contract Compliance Committee today. Last fiscal year, roughly 30% of county contracts and contract payments were made to minority and women-owned businesses, totaling more than $86 million.

Overall, the report says, M/WBE participation increased by approximately four percent, to 29% in contracts awarded and by six percent (to 31%) in actual payments in FY15 from FY14.

Most MBE contract spending, $30 million, went to African American-owned businesses in FY15, followed by Hispanic Americans ($24 million) and Asian Americans ($14 million). Total MBE contract spending was $68 million. The bulk of total dollars spent on WBE businesses went to Caucasian-owned companies ($8 million), with African American woman-owned businesses trailing at $1 million, Hispanic businesses even further down at $300,000, and Asian Americans at $50,000.

Pension Committee

An ordinance from Cook Co. Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Finance Chair John P. Daley, and Gregg Goslin amends the pension reporting requirements to reflect recent guidelines from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB 67 and GASB 68). Taxing districts will have to submit financial data to Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas within 30 days of audits being issued, instead of the old deadline: the last Tuesday in December.

By July 29, 2016, districts will also have to electronically provide the most recent actuarial reports prepared for their pension plans in accordance with reporting requirements in GASB 67 and 68 (The County’s pension fund started following requirements for GASB 67 in 2014 and GASB 68 for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2015.) The accounting changes keep governments from overestimating investment returns, require a shorter amortization schedule, and different reported numbers for funding and accounting.

In short, the reporting requirements don’t change how much needs to be paid into a pension fund, but can paint a bleaker picture for pensions that have been historically underfunded. For example, Bloomberg reported New Jersey’s unfunded liability amount nearly doubled under the new accounting standard, from $43.8 billion to $78.8 billion.

A briefing for Commissioners is scheduled from the Cook County and Forest Preserve employee pension funds, including an update on the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions on pension reform and to discuss the estimated payment from the recent sales tax hike to the Cook County pension fund. The County currently has a one year agreement with its employee pension fund to contribute $270.5 million in sales tax revenue to the retirement fund (in addition to property taxes) to chip away at the unfunded liability. The first installment of sales tax revenue was due in April. The fund has a roughly $6.5 billion shortfall.

Asset Management Committee

Three items are up for committee consideration today: a two year $400,000 contract with Graybar Electric Company for electrical supplies, a $200,000 contract extension with Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc. for industrial maintenance, repair and operating commodities and services. The last is a request from the Department of Real Estate and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) to discuss in executive session the possible acquisition of property to be utilized by the Cook County Ambulatory & Community Health Network (ACHN) for a primary health care clinic.

Labor Committee

substitute ordinance mandating construction on properties that receive a Class 8 property tax incentives “shall only be performed by a contractor or subcontractor who participates in an active apprenticeship and training program approved and registered with the US Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship” is one of just three Labor Committee agenda items today. The ordinance is sponsored by Commissioners Joan Patricia Murphy, Bridget Gainer, Jeffrey Tobolski, andSean Morrison.

Failure to file proof of participation in the apprenticeship program would result in “the loss of the incentive for the period relating to the non-filing,” and properties already receiving the break would be subject to the same rules on any future construction at the site. Properties that receive a Class 8 break are assessed at a lower rate: 10% of the market value for 10 years, 15% for the 11th year and 20% in the 12th year (instead of 25%). The break is meant to spur industrial and commercial development.

The Labor Committee will also consider wage increases and healthcare for Sheriff’s Telecommunications, Vehicle Service and Electronic Monitoring Supervisors (negotiated by the Metropolitan Alliance of Police Chapter 507), and a corrected collective bargaining agreement for support staff in the Office of the Public Defender (AFSCME 3696); assistant public defenders (AFSCME 3315); caseworkers, interpreters and investigative personnel in the Offices of the Public Defender, Medical Examiner and Adoption and Child Custody Advocacy (AFSCME 1767); and Cook County Assessor’s staff (AFSCME 3835).

 

Zoning and Building Committee

In addition to eight recommendations from the county Zoning Board of Appeals, the Zoning Committee will consider whether to add new zoning inspection fees to the county code for land not involving buildings (for creation of floodplains, drainage, grading, soil erosion control, streambank stabilization, and trail improvements). The fees range from $1,500 for less than five acres, and $50 per acre for projects over 100 acres. Areas with impermeable surfaces have higher fees. The change is sponsored by Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and was deferred last month.  

Finance Committee

A $4.1 million Pepsi contract is the only non-settlement or legal payment on today’s finance agenda. Per the 10 year deal, “Pepsi will receive exclusive pouring rights for all beverages served on all Cook County and Forest Preserve properties, in exchange for certain rebates, commissions and other one-time and annual revenues as specified.” The total $4,141,985 contract includes both Cook County Government’s and the Forest Preserve District’s share of projected revenues from the deal.

Within the pages of legal settlements on the agenda, here are the largest:

  • Hinojosa v. Sheriff of Cook County et al. Hinojosa sued the Sheriff’s department on behalf of her husband, Arturas Kolgovas, who was killed in 2010. Kolgovas’ daughter called the police one afternoon in January, believing he would hurt her in a drunken rage. Officers had encountered Kolgovas twice before, when he threatened suicide. He was reportedly combative with police. In January, 2010 Kolgovas barricaded himself inside his apartment, at times threatening officers with a samurai sword. In an attempt to make an arrest, officers convinced Kolgovas to open the door. He was killed after one officer used a taser on him, and the other shot him once in the chest, possibly at the same time. He died a few hours later. The settlement amount is slightly under $100,000.

  • Rogers v. Dart et. al. – Ray Rogers is expected to receive a $55,000 settlement in a case regarding the jail system’s handling of religious meals for inmates returning from court. Rogers, a pretrial detainee, requested halal foods without dairy. He says he was sometimes denied those meals when returning from court, and that the halal meals the jail provided were not as varied or nutritious as others.

  • Troy Rush v. Cook County, et al. – Troy Rush, a Deputy Sheriff at the Juvenile Court facility, alleged she was sexually assaulted by a co-worker, and subject to “ongoing physical and sexual assault, battery, harassment and intimidation in the Plaintiff’s workplace”. As a result of her harassment, Rush said, she changed her schedule to avoid that co-worker. The County denied Rush’s version of events.