Separate the Forest Preserve and County Board
Currently, the legislation to separate the Forest Preserve District and Cook County boards is on pause after being asked to do so by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Friends of the Forest Preserves and its 15 coalition partner organizations mobilized their members and supporters, and we all worked hard in 2010 and 2011 year to get the legislation passed in Springfield. The legislation was on track to pass, thanks to the calls, letters, visits, and press generated by everyone’s efforts. All that work is deeply appreciated and will be influential in the long run.
However, bill sponsors Senator Don Harmon and Representative Elaine Nekritz agreed to President Preckwinkle’s request. President Preckwinkle wants a chance to improve District operations before the boards are separated. She has indicated to Friends that she is not opposed to the idea for the long term but believes that she can do good in the short term.
We have known from the beginning that passing this monumental legislation would be a difficult task, and we are committed to seeing it through – no matter how long it takes. We feel that this is an essential reform to remove the conflict of interest for elected officials running the County and the Forest Preserve District. Separating the board would not create a new government entity because the District is already a separate taxing body. We will see this legislation pass, and look forward to working with President Preckwinkle to improve the governance of the forest preserves.
- Creates a separate board of commissioners for this already separate government
- 9 commissioners
- 3 districts with 3 commissioners elected from each
- Non-partisan election
- Board president selected by the members of the board
- Friends of the Forest Preserves
- The Civic Federation
- Audubon-Chicago Region
- Bird Conservation Network
- Better Government Association
- Citizens for Conservation
- Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin
- Cook County Farm Bureau
- Environmental Law and Policy Center
- Faith in Place
- Friends of the Chicago River
- Friends of the Parks
- Illinois Environmental Council
- The Illinois Paddling Council
- Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter