President Toni Preckwinkle's vowed to take measures that would reflect a commitment to a new standard of oversight and accountability upon being elected president of the Cook County Board on November 21, 2010.
As Superintendent Arnold Randall noted upon walking into his agency's administrative offices after his December 2010 appointment, he was struck by the vintage technology he found. Randall said of the forest preserve district, "We are woefully behind on technology. Workers still had to sign in on a sheet of paper; several employees were using their own tools; and there had been no job performance reviews for at least 15 years. http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/8182752-418/forest-preserve-audi-shows-agencys-technology-is-so-20th-century. html
AMD Business Solutions, Inc. was contracted to conduct an independent study with the goal of ascertaining whether jobs were properly functioning and correctly represented in each job description.
The audit included in-person interviews with 100% of available staff from May 9 to June 24, 2011. Each employee was asked 18 core questions related to job duties, scope, authority, autonomy, and supervisory responsibility.
On October 12, 2011, the results of a comprehensive desk audit were released jointly by Preckwinkle and Randall, almost a year after a review of the Cook County Forest Preserve District had been ordered by Preckwinkle.
The desk audit listed 118 recommendations to improve the Forest Preserve District. http://fpdcc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012-Q2-Desk-Audit-Progress-Public-Report.pdf
A Chicago Tribune report slammed the audit, finding that the forest preserve was poorly organized. Among the problems was that its workers had still not received performance reviews in at least 15 years; there was cases of jobs overlapping; and many employees were unclear as to exactly what their job duties were. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/10/12/audit-slams-management-at-forest-preserve-district/#
In the aftermath of the not-so-stellar Oct., 2011 field audit report, Preckwinkle and Randall pledged to provide quarterly public updates of the District's progress in implementing the recommendations. http://fpdcc.com/results-of-the-desk-audit
On August 13th of this year, the second Quarter 2012 field audit report was issued. http://fpdcc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012-Q2-Desk-Audit-Progress-Public-Report.pdf
The third quarter of 2012 update will be posted when released at this website, http://fpdcc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012-Q2-Desk-Audit-Progress-Public-Report.pdf, in late October/early November. It is not yet available.
Was it possible for superintendent Arnold Randall to add the 16 new full-time jobs and the 20 to 30 new part-time position that he proposed in October of 2011? Even if the hiring occurred it is unlikely that more boots on the ground would have discovered the massive marijuana grow site at Crabtree in 2007. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20111026/news/710269600/print/
Taxpayers know that corruption runs rampant in Chicago political circles, but would it be too much to request that the entire Cook County Forest Preserve Police Force be subjected to transparency?
Was Toni Preckwinkle's suggested study ever ordered for the possible elimination of the Forest Preserve Police Department, as a cost-saving measure, made during the December, 2010 swearing-in ceremony of superintendent Arnold Randall? http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2010/12
Eight years earlier the 151 member police force had been ridiculed as The Tree Police and an unnecessary $7.5 million-a-year luxury by its critics. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1454905.html/
Might Alderman Ed Burke, counseled by his wife who is a Chicago Judge, take it upon himself to open up possible undisclosed, secret records to allow taxpayers to see the qualifications of present Cook County Preserve Police and all other Departments?
Before January 1st of this year, requirements for Watchmen resident staffers only included a valid driver's license and a supervisor's reference. Added after January 1st of this year was training and certification in chain-saw use and fire safety. Workers must also "report any prohibited or illegal activity." Prior to January of this year workers only had to report so-called "encroachments." http://www.suntimes.com/news/11713391-418/forest-preserve-adds-chain-saw-fire-fighting-duties-for-resident-staffers.html
Dense forbidding foliage exists at Crabtree, as it does at all six of the Cook County forest preserve sites. Wandering one foot off the short trails is prohibited at Crabtree Nature Preserve, as it is at the five other Cook County Forest preserves. As such, citizen surveillance remains non-existent of the dense interiors of the preserves.
Have the changes and measures adopted during the two years since Toni Preckwinkle took charge of the Cook County Forest Preserves been enough to stop drug kingpins from reestablishing new marijuana grow sites in Crabtree and other Cook County Forest Preserves? Government once again has shown its inability to evaluate a situation in a timely and efficient way!
It seems appropriate that the following unanswered questions be raised by citizens and taxpayers of Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, and his wife, since their son, Emmett, lived in a low rental house within one of the Nature Preserves until his death in a snowmobile accident near his home on January 31, 2004. www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=13076663
1.) How often does this multi-million dollar Cook County Nature Preserve Police Force have officers ride into and walk into the six Nature Preserves?
2.) Why the Police Officers, and certainly employees at Crabtree Forest Preserve, wouldn't have "discovered" the eleven huge marijuana fields and the worker's camp sites by seeing them, hearing the Mexican workers working in the fields, or smelling the food being cooked at the camp sites? Afterall, chain saws had to be used to clear the eleven huge marijuana fields.
3.) How did the trucks delivering irrigation pumps and pipes, gasoline for the pumps, and daily food and drink to the caretakers go undetected?
Business cannot continue as usual. Significant changes must be made by Chicago Alderman, Ed Burke, other Chicago politicians, spearheaded by Toni Perkwinkle and Superintendent Randall.
Consequences for not heeding calls to adopt timely reform actions will allow corruption to flourish unabated, given a patronage system that has run amok.
* Chicago Politicians will continue to treat the six Cook County Nature Preserves as their own private playgrounds and taxpayers will not be served.
* Law enforcement will become irrelevant. Marijuana operations are only discovered" when kids are seen crossing the road with marijuana plants; a helicopter? flies over and it's pilot spots two football size fields of 10 to 12 foot tall marijuana plants; and an intern studying wolfs finds two Mexicans from Mexico living in Crabtree Forest Preserve, and a massive "bust" takes place on a Saturday morning with a circling helicopter and airplane and many police cars in Barrington Hills.
* The 40 houses will continue to be rented dirt cheap to whoever is lucky (whoever the politicians want). Citizens wouldn't dare ask one word who the renters are or if the renters work in the six Cook County Nature Preserves.
* The Cook County Nature Preserve Police Force and On-Site Paid Employees will never "discover" new Marijuana Fields. If marijuana fields are "discovered" by somebody else, they will say, " they ain't seen nuttin!", like in Chicago's Al Capone days.
* A question that only law enforcement agencies can answer: Why has the Chicago FBI and the Cook County and local Police remain lackadaisical in their efforts to find and prosecute drug kingpins?
DRUG KINGPINS ARE WILLING TO ESTABLISH PROFITABLE MARIJUANA GROW SITES IN COOK COUNTY FOREST PRESERVES, BECAUSE LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS NO INTENTION TO CATCH THEM!
ONE MIGHT ASK, "WHY IS IT THAT, AS CITIZENS, WE PAY TENS OF MILLIONS OF $ FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT EVERY YEAR THAT IS ONLY TOO WILLING TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY, RATHER THAN TO TAKE AN INVESTIGATION TO ITS CONCLUSION WHEREVER IT MAY LEAD, EVEN TO THOSE HIGH UP IN POLITICAL CIRCLES?"
Article to Follow: Turn Underutilized Cook County Forest Preserves into fully utilized parks!