Newly inagurated Cook County Asessor Joe Berrios is off to a nepotistic start. Which is to say a bad one. The Sun-Times reported this morning that Berrios recently hired his sister and son, bringing both over from the Board of Review, where he previously held elected office. "They’ve got experience, and I’m hiring people with experience," Berrios told the newspaper.
Berrios' choice here isn't as problematic as the profound conflicts of interest -- taking political donations from property tax lawyers and working as a Springfield lobbyist, come to mind -- that have swirled around him in recent years. But in a terrible job market, this news stands out as especially stinky. It is the kind of decision that corrodes trust in government, and that's nothing to brush aside. We've seen how the lack of trust in state government has helped to prevent the kind of solutions needed to fix Illinois' dysfunctional tax system and deadbeat status. Berrios seems determined to do the same with his powerful office.
UPDATE (4:07 p.m.): This morning on Fox's Good Day Chicago, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said hiring family members
is "not something that I've done nor that I would reccomend to others
... I think it's possible find good public servants and I don't think
it's appropriate to hire your family" in response to questions about Berrios.