AFSCME SUES PRESIDENT STROGER

November 20, 2007- Today, AFSCME Council 31 announced that the Union will file suit against the County Board President Todd Stroger, asserting that Stroger has improperly suppressed staffing levels at the Office of the Public Defender, and improperly laid off 13 assistant public defenders earlier this year, both in violation of state law.This suit will be filed at the request of the Executive Board of Public Defender Local 3315.Since the 2007 budget process and the improper public defender layoffs, the Executive Board has been working to address our unacceptable staffing levels. We will be seeking injunctive relief, and back pay for attorneys who were laid off. We are represented by the law firm of Cornfield & Feldman in this suit.Specifically, the lawsuit will assert that state law grants only the County Board the authority to set staffing levels in the Cook County Public Defender Office. When the County Board exercised this authority during the 2007 budget process, the Board authorized enough positions for every assistant public defender then employed by the Office. In contravention to this staffing plan by the County Board, President Stroger laid off 13 assistant public defenders.In addition to layoffs, the suit will allege that President Stroger improperly permitted the number of attorneys in the Office to decline further by refusing to hire assistant public defenders to replace the dozens of attorneys who have recently left our Office, further acting in contravention of the County Board staffing plan and state law. The lawsuit will seek an injunction that prevents President Stroger from disregarding the authority of the County Board to set staffing levels in the Office of the Public Defender, will seek a declaration that President Stroger must take necessary steps to increase the number of attorneys in the Office to the level authorized by the County Board, and will seek back pay for our members who were improperly laid off in 2007.Through this lawsuit, AFSCME Council 31 and your Executive Board hope to restore justice to this Office and its clients by fighting for appropriate staffing levels. One measure of justice in our system is the caseloads carried by our attorneys. In an Office where caseloads are excessive by any measure, justice requires that action be taken to fully staff our Office.

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15 Comments

  1. Chuck Bullinger
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    How much is this costing us? Are our dues going to go up?

  2. Michelle Thomas
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    With all that’s happened since last December, your worried about your dues going up?!!
    Unreal where some folks priorities lie……

  3. Dan Walsh
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Please note: The ARDC website lists no “Chuck Bullinger” as an Illinois attorney, let alone an attorney with our office. There are, however, two enrolled attorneys by the name of Bullinger, but neither are employed by the Public Defender’s office.

  4. Bruce Mosbacher, Executive At Large
    Posted November 20, 2007 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Dan for your investigation. The name was not familiar to me…probably just another Stroger family member getting paid to monitor our web site. Looks like we will get some good press about our law suit in the Chicago Tribune tomarrow.

    Bruce

  5. Ingrid Gill
    Posted November 26, 2007 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Bruce, references to the President’s family is unproductive for
    an executive board member. As for the press, their report is
    not about our lawsuit since the union has not filed their
    intervenor suit, and I am not assuming that the union will
    adopt all the counts in the Public Defender’s lawsuit.
    As for the Public Defender’s lawsuit, I hope that the press
    reports that the lawsuit may halt what appears to be the
    President’s attempt to treat this office as a goldmine for
    political patronage and a budget stopgap source.

  6. President
    Posted November 26, 2007 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Our intervenor petition was filed on November 20, 2007 and asks for two things: (1) backpay for all laid off members and (2) allowing the public defender to promptly hire and fill vacancies in the office consistent with the appropriated buget figures.

  7. Bruce Mosbacher, Executive At Large
    Posted November 26, 2007 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Sister Gill:

    Why not comment on President Stroger’s predilection for placing unqualified family members and friends in well paid county jobs. This practice continues to embarrass county govenment and by association all county employees, making our job more difficult as we try to communicate with clients, prosecutors, jurors, and judges. In addition, his actions make it less and less likely that the taxpayers, who pay every penny of our salaries and benefits, will be receptive to our contact demands when our contract expires in a year.

    Bruce

  8. JD
    Posted November 28, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Bruce:

    Whether Stroger puts in his pals or independent applicants in those positions does not affect the budget one penny. Find me a city, county state or nation, for that matter, that does not have some cronyism and I I’ll also buy the brooklyn bridge from you as well.

    Furthermore, how receptive will Stroger be to our contract demands after we just sued him and the county?

  9. Bruce Mosbacher, Executive At Large
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    JD:

    1. Your naive about the budget process…it is a political one…bad press for Todd for putting incompetent relatives in high paid positions does affect the budget in that the county board does not want to be seen raisng taxes to fund the Stroger family trusts.
    2. You have been in these parts for too long if you think that all units of government in the country are run the Crook County crony way. There are numerous good government municicpalities around the country that are squeaky clean in hiring and firing.
    3. You are wrong on the facts. We did not file suit against the County or the County Board. We, the union, and Ed for that matter, filed suit against Todd and members of the Presidents office for failing to adhere to the County’s Budget or the requirements of the Public Defender Act. The alternative, playing Todd’s game, got us nothing except an illegal hiring freeze and at least two high paid Stroger incompetents who did nothing for us or our clients.

    Bruce

  10. JD
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Bruce, you wrote:

    “There are numerous good government municicpalities around the country that are squeaky clean in hiring and firing.”
    ————–

    Name one the size of cook county!

    JD

  11. Bruce Mosbacher, Executive At Large
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    JD

    I think you owe me money for the bridge!!! Who are you btw…I think APDs should not be ashamed to use their real names on this site. If you do a career in the criminal defense world your real name will be connected to worse causes and clients than this web site or union.

    Bruce

  12. Ingrid Gill
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    As an executive member, you were not elected to express you
    political views. If you choose to express them, then list
    yourself as a union member rather than as “Executive At Large.”

    There is probably not a democratic commissioner who does not
    have a relative or an in law on the government payroll;
    consequently, it is counterproductive to go after relatives of
    any politician. I find your focus on the President’s family both
    racist and sexist. The only family member of the President who
    has been in the news is the Chief Financial Officer. She has
    been working in the county in the financial departments way before John Storger was elected. Shehas a MBA from Northwester University.
    Further she was approved by the board. The remaining positions
    of friends whom were appointed are constitutionally permissible
    patronage positions. How does any of this impact on the union’s
    interests since the President was elected by democratics who
    control this county?
    The intervenor lawsuit filed by the union should be
    distributed to the union members as was the Public Defender’s
    lawsuit.

  13. Ingrid Gill
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Commissioners Silvestri, Schneider, Gorman and Goslin have an
    FY2008 Amendment No. FA-78 with additional amendments that calls
    for a 7% reduction across the board for this office’s salaries
    and wages of regular employees, act. 110/501010. which affects
    page B-56 of the original budget. Is our executive board
    going to talk to the commissioners about what a devasting effect
    this amendment would have on our office’s front line attorneys
    since the union attorneys are already handling case loads that
    are too high? The board goes back to discussing this
    amendment at 3 pm today. Comm. Quigly has stated that dept
    heads should be allowed to discuss the impact this 7% cut would
    have on dept heads.

  14. Bruce Mosbacher, Executive At Large
    Posted November 30, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Sister Gill:

    I agree that the complaint of our union lawsuit should be distributed, and I have good reason to believe that it will be up on this web site shortly. As to the rest of your arguments in posting 12, I cannot agree with anything that you claim or say. I can only conclude from your positions, that you are trying to get a job with Commissioner Beavers or beef up your application to work in management in our office.

    Bruce

  15. Kulmeet Galhotra
    Posted December 3, 2007 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Having spoken to the sponsor of FA-78, the union was aware that it would be defeated as it was on Friday, 11/30/07.

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