Stroger Throws in the Towel At Last Board Meeting

Wednesday marked the final Cook County Board meeting for President Todd Stroger and three Cook County Commissioners.

Stroger lost to Chicago Alderman Toni Preckwinkle in the November election, many Chicagoans might say this was largely due to the sales tax hike he enacted while in office.

As Stroger presided over his final board meeting, he received a standing ovation from county commissioners at the meeting held in the County Board Room of the County Building, 118 N. Clark Street.

The meeting was also the last for Commissioners Tony Peraica, Joseph Mario Moreno and Forrest Claypool.

Claypool, who lost his independent bid for the county assessor’s office last month, was honored during the board meeting.

The meeting was a burn-and-toast meeting, however, Stroger and Claypool avoided criticizing each other. Stroger even gave praise to Claypool, although when it came time for Claypool to receive a certificate, where he likely would have been photographed with Stroger, he declined saying it was best to keep the meeting moving.

Claypool said that during his eight years on the board, the county has made progress by cleaning up Forest Preserve District finances and management, putting the county’s vast public health system under independent “professional” management and eliminating ‘the worst abuses’ of the jail.

The board also announced plans to honor Stroger, Peracia, retiring Assessor James Houlihan and Board of Review Commissoner Joseph Berrios, who won the assessor’s race.

Commissioner William Beavers had a lot to say when it came to the goodbyes.

Beavers told Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno, a Democrat who lost his bid for a fifth term, “I don’t like to many people, but I like you.”

When it came to the Riverside Republican who lost a re-election effort last month, Beavers wasn’t shy. “It’s been a pleasure to work with you,” Beavers said of Peracia. “You never stab a person in the back. You always stab them right in the chest. And that’s what I like.”

After the meeting Stroger added that he was proud of his work while serving as the Cook County Board President.

“You could always do some things better, but most of it would be, I’ say, media-related. But even then it’s hard if the media wants to portray you in a bad light. You can do great things, but then you just ask your enemy, and they say something bad. But the county ran well. We made a few mistakes, but nothing that was earth-shattering,” Stroger said.

Stroger said he’s not sure what he’ll do next, but he’s looking into consulting and selling insurance.

He leaves after just one term in office.