The Observer
News from the League of Women Voters of Cook County

March 2020
Keep Calm, Stay Strong and Carry On

Dear LWVCC members,

At a time of great uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak, be assured we consider the health and well-being of League members, voters, elected officials and the public-at-large of paramount importance. We are prepared to make changes, as needed.

An example is the decision to cancel the Election Judge Survey project. We didn’t want to endanger the health of anyone by continuing with this project. But we were pleased that 10 out of the 13 local Leagues had agreed to participate.

Meanwhile, our work continues . We will observe county meetings virtually via live streaming on their respective websites, as well as post reports on our site and social media channels. LWVCC board meetings and committee meetings may continue via conference call. 

This time of year is always a busy one for Leaguers. We’ll keep you informed about the Annual Meeting and other activities via emails,  The Observer  newsletter, social media and our website. For other news on Cook County League activities, keep reading.

Above all, stay safe and stay healthy. Together, we  will  get through this.

 -  Jan Goldberg and Karin Hribar
 LWVCC Vice Presidents
Cook County Board Votes to Extend Declaration of Emergency
The Cook County Board of Commissioners (CCBC) voted to extend a declaration of emergency for Cook County through May 31 at its March 16 meeting. The declaration also applies to the Cook County Forest Preserve District. In the event that the County Board and/or Finance Committee are unable to meet in March or April, the Board authorized Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle to issue executive orders as needed to provide for the continuity of government.  

Under the Illinois Open Meetings Act, all government meetings must take place in person, so meetings via video conferencing are not permitted at this time. The counsel for the Board President did say that there is legislation in Springfield to amend the Act to allow for such "virtual" meetings. NOTE: On March 17 Governor Pritzker used his emergency powers to allow local governments to hold "remote" meetings. We'll watch to see what Cook County, the Forest Preserve District, and the MWRD do with regard to upcoming meetings.

To read the Observer Report for the March 16 Cook Count Board meeting, click here .
Join the League’s Observer Corps!
The Cook County League Observer Corps promotes government transparency and accountability in government and plays a vital role in helping improve county-wide governments as well as educating voters on decisions that impact their lives. Members observe the Cook County Board and committees, and the boards of the Cook County Forest Preserve, Cook County Health, and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board. 
LWVCC observers…
  • Attend governmental meetings and monitor issues being discussed and the process of the discussion; 
  • Write reports after each meeting which are posted at and shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Observer Profile
This month, The Observer contacted Lisa Slankard , one of the newest members of the LWVCC Observer Corps. A former director of a hospital pharmacy, Lisa works as a pharmacist for temp agencies and is Voter Services chair of the Arlington Heights League and an Observer of her local library board. She has now added Cook County Health meetings to her busy schedule.“I felt I was a good fit because I understand medical jargon and have a management background,” she says. To read her first report, click here .
Observing tips from Lisa:

  • Read a lot of other Observer reports and get familiar with the acronyms;

  • Don’t hesitate to ask your peers for clarifications or information;

  • If you need to fact check, be aware that all boards except Cook County Health have live streaming and videotaped board meetings on their respective websites;

  • Know your preferred approach to writing. Lisa says ,“Words don’t come easily,” so she contemplates what she will write for a day or two before putting fingers on the keyboard.

Want to join us? Send an email to  or leave a message
at  (312) 939-5935, ext. 4.
Cook County Health At-a-Glance

The nine-member CCH independent board of directors composed of well-qualified professionals is responsible for oversight of two Acute Care Hospitals (Stroger and Provident); Fourteen community-based primary care medical centers; CORE [HIV] Center; health care for Cook County Jail; the Cook County Department of Public Health, and a Medicaid Insurance Health Plan for State Qualified residents called County Care. In 2019, CCH provided  50%  of Charity Care in the County ( $590 million  in uncompensated care). In 2020,  CCH had a budget of $2.8 billion  and  6,589 full-time equivalent employees.

In 2019, CCH…
  • Served approximately 500,000 individuals between the Insurance program, County Care, and the Health System hospitals and centers 
  • Had one million outpatient registrations
  • Performed and analyzed 5 million lab tests
  • Completed 55,000 intake screenings at Cook County Jail
  • Had 46,000 visits to the Ruth Rothstein CORE Center, one of the busiest HIV treatment centers in the U.S.
  • For more, visit

Significant Changes Made to Ordinance that Created CCH Board

Significant changes were made in February to the 2008 Ordinance that created CCH’s system of its independent Board of Directors, said Diane Edmundson , who wrote a report ( scroll down to the second report ) after observing the meeting where the decision was made.

Among other changes:
  • The CCH System’s Board of Directors will no longer have sole authority to hire the CEO, or interim CEO, or establish the compensation. Rather, these decisions will need to be approved by the Cook County Board.
  • The changes require the CCH Board to direct its CEO to collaborate with President Preckwinkle and her departments on development of the strategic plan as well as its operational and policy strategy.
  • The changes also increased CCH board membership from 11 to 12. The twelfth member will be hired by and reports directly to President Preckwinkle and will serve the same 4-year term as the other directors. This appointee and the Cook County Board appointee cannot serve as Chairman of the CCH board.

The stated goal of the legislation is to improve the cooperation and coordination between the CCH and the Cook County Board.
LWVCC Events

Reservations Can Now Be Made for LWVCC Annual Meeting
The LWVCC 2020 Annual Meeting will be held Monday, May 18, at the University Center, 525 S. State St., Chicago . Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the business segment at 10, followed by a panel discussion and lunch.

In November 2018, voters elected seven new members to the Cook County Board, the largest number of new members in years.  Three of those new members are women , and during a year when we are celebrating the League’s 100th anniversary of the League and passage of the 19th Amendment, it seemed fitting for the LWVCC Board to invite those Commissioners to participate in a panel discussion.

Alma Anaya , Bridget Degnen , and Donna Miller were elected from districts that encompass Pilsen and Little Village, Chicago’s north side, and the south suburbs.We’ll ask them about their backgrounds and interests, along with their impressions of County government and the most critical issues facing the County today.

Please join us! To make your reservations, you can pay online or by a mail-in form if you click here .

Tickets Sold Out for “The Agitators”
Thanks to all who purchased tickets to The Agitators, a play about the long friendship between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.  ALL 59 OF OUR TICKETS HAVE SOLD!  

The play runs from April 30 - June 6, so if you still want to attend, contact the theater about ticket availability at
2019-2020 Cook County League Board Members 

Vice-presidents:  Jan Goldberg , LaGrange Area and Karin Hribar Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, and Buffalo Grove; Secretary: Betty Hayford , Evanston; Treasurer: Nancy Clark , Oak Park/River Forest; Carolyn Consentino , Homewood/Flossmoor; Laura Davis , Palatine Area; Diane Edmundson , Park Ridge; Nancy Marcus , Winnetka/Northfield/Kenilworth; Priscilla Mims , Chicago; Sharon Welch, Chicago; Amy Little , Chicago; Chris Ruys , Chicago; Mary Anne Benden , Arlington Heights; Michelle Niccolai , LaGrange; Ann Bolan , Oak Park-River Forest; Kim Inman , Palatine area; Georgia Gebhardt , Wilmette; Dianne Schmidt , Glenview/Glencoe
Editor : Chris Ruys,
332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 634
Chicago, IL 60604

312/939-5935 x 4