Cook County watchdog eyeing retirement after helping find successor: ‘It’s good government’

Cook County’s top watchdog plans to bow out in 2022 after 14 years trying to sniff out corruption, misconduct and other wrongdoing by government employees.

The move is laid out in a proposed amendment to a county ordinance governing how to choose a successor to Cook County Independent Inspector General Patrick Blanchard.

Blanchard’s current six-year term ends in October, but he’ll return for a special two-year term to complete his 30 years of total employment by the county and to assist officials as they look for a replacement. That process could take eight months to a year.

Blanchard’s exit plan was first reported by Crain’s.

Blanchard said he’s not being forced out of the position.

“It simply was designed to capture the reality that I’m approaching 30 years of service which is the time when people can retire if they want. … So it’s designed to capture that notion and also what will undoubtedly be a long period of time to allow the search and reappointment process to take place, and it’s a very good thing,” Blanchard said. “It’s good government.”

Blanchard is currently in his second six-year term as inspector general. Before taking on the watchdog post, he spent about 15 years as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney.

In a statement, a spokesman for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Blanchard requested the two-year appointment and it will “ensure continuity in operations during this process.”

The matter will come before the Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Wednesday and then will likely go before the full board of commissioners Thursday.

via Chicago Sun-Times

September 18, 2020 at 08:08PM

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