News from President Toni Preckwinkle

President Preckwinkle, Forest Preserve Superintendent Randall announce sweeping reforms

Preckwinkle, Randall announce sweeping reforms at Cook County Forest Preserve

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Forest Preserve District of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall and Commissioners Gregg Goslin and Jeffrey Tobolski announced today the implementation of new reform measures and policies targeting the kind of behavior uncovered by the Office of the Inspector General last summer at the Cermak Family Aquatic Center.

Preckwinkle said the measures set a new standard for oversight.

“Across the County, we are focusing on performance management and putting in place policies that demand accountability. At the Forest Preserve District, Arnold Randall is leading an effort to turnaround an area of County government that has had significant problems in the recent past,” she said.

Randall said he worked with the Inspector General to audit personnel rules and develop new ones.

“We’re in the midst of a complete culture change and I appreciate the support I have received from the President’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General. These measures are a step toward that goal. These are serious measures that send a clear message: those who choose to act in this manner will find themselves disciplined, fired and, when appropriate, forwarded to the Cook County State’s Attorney for criminal prosecution,” he said.

Among the key changes that are being made at the pools are:

  • New cash management practices and a new credit card system;
  • Additional security cameras to be installed at all pools;
  • Wireless access for management to supervise swimming pool activity;
  • New employee training program that includes ethics training.

The following disciplinary measures were taken against personnel from Cermak pool:

  • Terminations of every employee directly involved;
  • Terminations of those supervisors who were accountable for allowing the abuses to occur;
  • Suspensions of other staff, including department heads and senior staff, who failed to responsibly execute their duties in a manner that would have prevented some of the abuses.

The forest preserve district is also changing over to new human resource and management policies that include the following:

  • New job posting procedures and random selection of interviewees;
  • Hiring pool employees earlier than  before to ensure thorough and adequate training.
  • Higher level direct supervision of pool personnel.
  • Increased numbers of lifeguards to decrease overtime costs.