The transition of power at the Cook County Board President's office has gone from ugly to uglier, with some harsh words at yesterday's regular board meeting.
Commissioner Bill Beavers, a stalwart ally of outgoing President Todd Stroger, expressed his displeasure at President-elect Toni Preckwinkle's handling of the transition process. Specifically, he took issue with her plan to clean house of some of Stroger's political appointees.
The ever-direct Beavers had this to say, according to the Sun-Times:
"If she'd quit playing politics and threatening everybody about how many people she's gonna fire -- she's gonna get rid of this and gonna get rid of that. And then she expects somebody to bend over backwards to help her? People are not crazy. They're not going to help her if she's going to fire them the next day."
Beavers added some not-so-welcome advice: "Listen, shut up and get over here and try to do some work."
His comments come after a spate of media reports suggesting the Stroger administration has been less than cooperative in Preckwinkle's transition efforts.
For months, Stroger had been refusing to speak with his successor. When they sat down for their first meeting last week, it was apparently short-lived: Preckwinkle said she couldn't promise that any particular appointees would stick around, and after ten contentious minutes, the meeting was adjourned.
Commissioner Beavers stood up for Stroger, his longtime friend and political ally. In 2006, when Stroger's father John suffered a stroke and resigned from the Board presidency, Beavers was instrumental in arranging his son's succession to the county throne. As part of the deal, Beavers was appointed to Stroger's seat on the County Board, and his daughter Darcel Beavers was appointed to the seat he vacated on the City Council.
The famously blunt Beavers, who once told reporters he was "the hog with the big nuts," had his expense records subpoenaed by the IRS late last month.
The Chicago Tribune carries the response from Preckwinkle, whose cautious tact couldn't stand in starker contrast to Beavers' style: "I'm not going to comment on what Bill had to say," Preckwinkle said. "We're just focused on transition and doing the best we can to get ready. Time is short. We've got three weeks and a tough time ahead of us."