Comm. Larry Suffredin’s ordinance regulating pharmaceutical disposal won’t be heard at today’s Committee on Legislation and Intergovernmental Affairs meeting, a staffer in Suffredin’s office confirmed. The issue will be held until before the April 13 Board of Commissioners meeting.

“Com. Suffredin is working with a variety of interested groups, including pharmaceutical companies, on an amendment,” Suffredin’s Chief of Staff, Brian Miller, told Aldertrack.

“The Chicagoland Chamber opposes the proposed County wide, unfunded mandate on pharmaceutical manufacturers to plan, set up, pay for, and administer a consumer drug drop off site program,” the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Michael Reever told Aldertrack. “It is yet another costly mandate the County seeks to place on the employer community, without regard to the unintended consequences, which include potentially increasing the cost of prescription drugs for consumers and creating a patchwork of policies that make it harder for employers to grow their business and invest in our communities.”

The ordinance is aimed at protecting the County’s waterways from “improperly disposed of prescription drugs passing through [the County’s] wastewater and treatment centers.” The ordinance cites Alameda County’s Safe Drug ordinance, which was passed and amended in 2012. The ordinance would establish a stewardship plan for the collection, transportation and disposal of covered pharmaceutical drugs, and would be managed by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.

Covered drugs include prescription, non-prescription, brand name and generic drugs. Drugs not included: homeopathic drugs or vitamins; cosmetics, shampoos, sunscreens, or other personal care products; drugs already covered by a pharmaceutical take back program; ‘biological products’; or medical devices. The Stewardship plan could include drop-off sites at local pharmacies or mail-in programs for homebound Cook County residents. Drug producers would have to document collection and final disposal policies, as well as publicize collection efforts and pay for all administrative and operational costs related to their Stewardship Plan.

The ordinance also creates a Pharmaceutical Disposal Advisory Committee made up of the President Preckwinkle and six other government officials from the Board of Commissioners, the Department of Environmental Control, the County Department of Public Health, and MWRD. If the issue passes at the April 13 Board of Commissioners meeting, the ordinance would be in effect in mid-October.

The Committee will hear various appointments put forward by President Preckwinkle last month:

  • Board of Ethics: Thomas Szromba – Principal Senior Counsel, Litigation at The Boeing Company
  • Cook County Commission on Human Rights: Amber Smock – Director of Advocacy, Access Living
  • Cook County Justice Advisory Council: Lisa Stephens – Chief Operating Officer, Institute for Nonviolence Chicago

Subcommittee on Litigation

The Litigation subcommittee, which regularly meets in closed door session, will discuss a number of recommendations from Deputy State’s Attorney Don Pechous, who regularly appears before commissioners.

Commissioners will be updated on:

  • Monica Kogan v. Cook County, et al.: an equal pay case brought by female orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Monica Kogan, who was a contractor at Stroger Hospital. She alleges she was paid less than her male counterparts, but had more experience.

  • Justin Washington v. Cook County: Washington, a dietician at Stroger, alleges the county failed to pay him and others “who engaged in military service the difference between the pay they would have earned while employed by Cook County and the pay they received while on active military duty,” and accrual of time off.

  • Billie Jean Ammons v. Cook County Sheriff’s Office, et al.: Ammons, who at the time was a Deputy Cook County Sheriff, alleges she was diagnosed with a permanent spinal injury and was awarded leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The amount of time Ammons took leave made her ineligible for a promotion to sergeant. After she filed her suit, she alleged she was retaliated against.   

Workforce, Housing & Community Development Committee

Persistent youth unemployment will highlight today’s Workforce Committee public hearing. Commissioners are set to hear statistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute study: “Lost: The Crisis Of Jobless and Out Of School Teens and Young Adults In Chicago, Illinois and the U.S.” The report concludes: “the crisis of joblessness for young people of color is chronic and concentrated. The conditions in Chicago are among the worst, and evident when compared to the U.S., Illinois, New York, and Los Angeles.”

The report was commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network and paints some stark statistics:

  • For 20 to 24 year olds in Chicago, joblessness in 2014 was 59% for Blacks, 37% for Hispanic or Latinos, and 26% for Whites

  • In Illinois in 2014, 84% of Black 16 to 19 year olds and 72% of Hispanic or Latino 16 to 19 year olds were jobless. Employment rates decreased by 13% for Blacks and 20% for Hispanic or Latinos from 2005 to 2014.

  • Joblessness was worse in 2014 than in 2005 in every group, when looked at by age, race or gender. But the crisis was most acute for Black males, especially in Chicago, where 88.5% of Black males 16-19 were unemployed. Hispanic males were close behind – 87.4% were jobless in 2014.

  • The biggest decline of employment rates among 16 to 19 year olds in the U.S., Illinois and Chicago was among female Latinas in Chicago, with a 44% drop.

Jack Wuest, executive director of the Alternative Schools Network, called the statistics “pretty devastating” at a presentation last month with State Rep. Art TurnerJesse Ruizof the Chicago Parks District, Cook County Commissioners Richard BoykinJesus “Chuy” GarciaAld. Chris Taliaferro, officials from the Urban League and other stakeholders.

Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norington-Reaves is expected to attend “to provide an update on available programming and services for Cook County youth.”

Labor Committee

The Labor Committee meets at noon today to vote on collective bargaining agreements with the House Staff Association of Cook County and the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 399.

Gun Violence Task Force

The Cook County Gun Violence Task Force will hold its second meeting today from 2:30 to 4:30 to discuss gun violence data and processes with officials from the University of Chicago Crime Lab and the Illinois Department of Corrections. Members will also discuss the public health impact of gun violence and future strategies with officials from Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System.