The news came as a surprise. After 19 years on the Cook County Board of Ethics, the Chairman John Pikarski resigned just one day after WGN-TV, Chicago Magazine, and the Better Government Association raised questions about his own ethics.
For nearly two decades, Pikarski’s law firm has donated thousands of dollars to the campaign committees of Joe Berrios.
Clients of Pikarski’s got back millions in property tax reductions over the years from the Board of Review, Berrios’ old job.
Pikarski resigned after we asked how he could ethically take on his next task as chairman, to rule if Joe Berrios violated county ethics by hiring his son and daughter at the Assessor’s office.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwickle said, “Chairman Pikarski felt that he should resign and I think that was the appropriate decision on his part.”
Also, a proposal to stop Cook County employees from hiring their relatives was brought up at the County Board meeting. Its author, Commissioner Earlean Collins wants to see the rules tightened up to ensure family members don’t land on the County payroll.
According to Collins, “What Joe Berrios did, that’s no different than what’s going on here and what’s going on in Springfield and what’s going on in Congress. It’s not right and so we all have to accept the responsibility.”