Pucinski, Stroger spar over computer system

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Pucinski, Stroger spar over computer system

September 16, 1999


Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Aurelia Pucinski and County Board President John Stroger Jr. are fighting again, this time over the courthouse computer system and the Y2K bug.

Since Stroger rebuffed the clerk's attempts to upgrade her mainframe computer that tracks court cases, Pucinski said she will spend $300,000 to expand the computer, which will help make it Y2K safe.

"It's very disappointing that the president would not let my request be debated" by the county board, Pucinski said. "I have money available in my budget to address this critical situation. . . . I believe I have the authority to do it through Illinois law as affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court."

Pucinski will break state and county laws if she spends more than $10,000 without County Board approval, Stroger spokesman Jack Beary said. "We're consulting with the state's attorney's office on a course of action," Beary said.

Stroger's staff has urged Pucinski to merge her computer with the county's mainframe to consolidate computer operations, a move Beary said would save Pucinski $1.3 million a year while giving her much more storage space than she will have by expanding her system.

Pucinski is not opposed to merging her computer with the county mainframe, but she needs to have her system upgraded, according to her spokesman, Wade Nelson.

Stroger and Pucinski have been at odds since she left the Democratic Party to run as a Republican against Stroger for the County Board presidency. Stroger defeated Pucinski last fall.


-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), September 20, 1999


And these kinds of "politics" are being played out everywhere, at every level.

Human society didn't just flip a switch and suddenly years of painful tradition and compromise in management were reversed -- changing the way "business as usual" is done.

Nope, it's the same world that gave birth to the Y2k problem in the first place and the myopic vision of the "bottom line" is still alive and well and living in the system.



-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), September 20, 1999.

I agree. This is an example in the public sector of shortsighted self- interest like the bottom-line financial interest in business: politicians more interested in polls and votes than in doing the right thing. Not all of them -- but enough of them, I'm afraid, to screw up the works.

-- Lane Core Jr. (elcore@sgi.net), September 20, 1999.

Same sort of action here in Bozeman, Montana, population about 1/1000 of Chicago.

The County Treasurer (an elected position) has announced that the county's property tax system is y2k-trash. By last June, all of the county's IT staff has quit for higher salaries in the private sector.

The County Commissioners (an elected troika) which controls the budget is very strongly in the DGI camp, and has not come up with a solution. They are skulking about holding closed meetings, which is illegal here.

Meanwhile, the county can't collect property taxes due November 30, because the county treasurer can't print the bills, because the computer system just won't work for look-ahead calculations.

No word yet on where the cash for schools, the sheriff, snow plowing, etc will come from this January, even if everything else is working... which our commissioners, God bless 'em, appear to be counting on.

And the beat goes on: computers are stupid and they don't care.

-- Brady (brady@docuscribe.com), September 20, 1999.

No. Politicians are stupid and don't care.

-- curtis schalek (cschalek@earthlink.net), September 20, 1999.

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