Chicago, the city that works, relatively speaking

Phil Boehmke
Just two days after taking the oath of office as Cook County Assessor, longtime Chicago political fixture Joe Berrios found room at the public trough for his son and his sister. According to the Chicago Tribune, Carmen Barrios has been hired as the new director of tax payer services and Joseph "Joey" Barrios has been brought on board as a residential property analyst. Both members of the Berrios clan are settling into positions which are exempt from a federal court ban on hiring for political reasons.

Joe Berrios has defended his decision to bring in family members and other long time friends and associates because they were already on the government payroll, stating that "When you move into a new office, you bring people you can trust and who will protect you." Berrios who also serves as chairman of the Cook County Democratic Organization also said that "Everyone has a right to work for government."

During the recent campaign for Cook County Assessor, Berrios challenger Forrest Claypool (Independent) warned voters that if elected Barrios would continue his old-school Chicago political practices. It looks as if Berrios has gone out of his way to prove that Claypool was correct. After decades in public office Berrios and his tactics are well known to the voters, who really could care less about honest government. Such is the nature of one party rule in Chicago.

Cynthia Canary, the executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said:

"When he was at the Board of Review, he hired family on, and he just brought them over," she said. "In some ways, that is not a news story. That is Joe Berrios being Joe Berrios."

But nepotism, or the hiring of relatives, can raise questions about the qualifications of workers and whether they create an atmosphere of a "family-owned company" that would be inappropriate, Canary added.

Another Windy City example that the people get the government they deserve, but then as Cynthia Canary said "This is just Joe Berrios being Joe Berrios." Is it just me or is that a disgraceful attitude for the executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform to have?
Just two days after taking the oath of office as Cook County Assessor, longtime Chicago political fixture Joe Berrios found room at the public trough for his son and his sister. According to the Chicago Tribune, Carmen Barrios has been hired as the new director of tax payer services and Joseph "Joey" Barrios has been brought on board as a residential property analyst. Both members of the Berrios clan are settling into positions which are exempt from a federal court ban on hiring for political reasons.

Joe Berrios has defended his decision to bring in family members and other long time friends and associates because they were already on the government payroll, stating that "When you move into a new office, you bring people you can trust and who will protect you." Berrios who also serves as chairman of the Cook County Democratic Organization also said that "Everyone has a right to work for government."

During the recent campaign for Cook County Assessor, Berrios challenger Forrest Claypool (Independent) warned voters that if elected Barrios would continue his old-school Chicago political practices. It looks as if Berrios has gone out of his way to prove that Claypool was correct. After decades in public office Berrios and his tactics are well known to the voters, who really could care less about honest government. Such is the nature of one party rule in Chicago.

Cynthia Canary, the executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said:

"When he was at the Board of Review, he hired family on, and he just brought them over," she said. "In some ways, that is not a news story. That is Joe Berrios being Joe Berrios."

But nepotism, or the hiring of relatives, can raise questions about the qualifications of workers and whether they create an atmosphere of a "family-owned company" that would be inappropriate, Canary added.

Another Windy City example that the people get the government they deserve, but then as Cynthia Canary said "This is just Joe Berrios being Joe Berrios." Is it just me or is that a disgraceful attitude for the executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform to have?