County officials say last year saw a unique slowdown in county hiring and that this year's hiring patterns compare better with earlier years."County Spokeswoman Chinta Strausberg?"
"We do not see this as an unusual spike in hiring," said county spokeswoman Chinta Strausberg. "It is not a significant increase in hiring." ***
Strausberg said more than half of those hired were added to the payroll by elected officials other than Stroger -- tops among them Sheriff Michael Sheahan, who was ordered to add jail guards, and Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, who said she was severely understaffed.
I wonder if -- just by looking around in our copy of the Sun-Times -- we can find another way to characterize Ms. Strausberg's relationship with the County of Cook? Maybe there will be a clue in this chart...
Oh, so county spokeswoman Chinta Strausberg, the third highest paid person brought on to Cook County's payroll during its purported hiring freeze, does not see this as "an unusual spike in hiring."
Since the beginning of December, 1,647 full- and part-time employees were added to the Cook County payroll. Not including physicians at county hospitals, those hired with the highest salaries are:
Position Salary Bruce Washington Director, Capital Planning $133,424 Salvador Godinez Director, Corrections $124,429 Chinta Strausberg Director, Communications $109,233 Rupert Graham Jr. Assistant superintendent, Highway Dept. $108,228 Susan Kortokrax Chief legal counsel, Treasurer $101,831 Lucio Guerrero Director of Appraisals $99,901 Sheila Ahranjani Pharmacy supervisor $91,549 Rayeon Lampkin Director, Radiology/Imaging $88,350 Julie Bracken Senior instructor, Oak Forest Hospital $86,596 Alexander Vroustouris Assistant state's attorney $86,413 Maria Moreno-Szafarczyk Assistant superintendent, Juvenile Center $85,428
Well, I don't suppose she would, would she?
But why didn't the Sun-Times connect these dots for its readers?
Was it because it was too obvious? I hope not -- because I didn't notice it. It was actually pointed out to me by my lovely and brilliant bride.
The cynical and conspiratorial among us might suggest that the S-T didn't connect the dots out of professional courtesy. It seems that, before cracking the hiring freeze at Cook County, Chinta Strausberg was a highly respected journalist. She was even honored by the General Assembly for "her lifelong dedication to print and electronic journalism."
Although that jaded explanation is tempting, odds are the S-T just failed notice the significant connection between two related pieces of information in two parts of its paper. These things do happen.
But while I'm not willing to take the conspiratorial route this time, oversights like this only serve to make the reading public -- your's truly included -- even more cynical.
And that does both the press and the public a grave disservice.