Williams in charge of county finances, $3B budget
by Wendell Hutson Dunnings has denied the allegation. with me.”
DEFENDER STAFF WRITER While the campaign for the office of Cook County departments under her realm include
County Board President is being waged all the comptroller, purchasing, risk management,
After 25 years of working in corporate around her, Williams keeps her distance from budget, and revenue. There are roughly 200
America Jaye Williams decided it was time for the political wrangling. employees who work within these departments
a change. “I try not to let politics become a part of this and under Williams’ watchful eye.
That change brought Williams, 53, to the office because I am not a politician,” she told While admitting she has not had time to
helm of the county’s financial department in the Defender. “I recognize how complex and explore new revenue streams to replace the
August. And now as Cook County’s chief challenging this position is, which is why I find anticipated $200 million the county stands to
financial officer, she is charged not only with this job so exciting. One of the biggest chal- lose beginning in 2010 thanks to the sales tax
managing a $3.1 billion budget, but also with lenges I see for the county is how to continue reduction, Williams said she is not opposed to
making sound, fiscal decisions on behalf of delivering cost-efficient services such as health leasing county assets just as the City of
county taxpayers. care.” Chicago did when it privatized its parking
Williams is a veteran in the local corporate Indeed, with the county’s portion of the state meters. With each lease deal the city netted
industry. She has also worked at several local sales tax, which is 1.75 percent, set to roll back over $1 billion.
financial institutions including Bank One - now to 1.25 percent beginning July 1, providing “By April we would have begun to look at
JP Morgan Chase Bank - and LaSalle Bank, quality health care will pose a challenge to the ways to raise new revenue for the county,” said
which is now Bank of America. county, according to Cook County Board Williams, who has a bachelor's degree in
Additionally, for the past 25 years she has President Todd Stroger. finance from the University of Illinois and an
been married to Rufus Williams, sports attor- Williams admits that prior to joining the MBA in finance and accounting from
ney and former president of the Chicago county she did not know Stroger personally, Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate
School Board. though her husband did. School of Management.
Her new annual salary, which hovers around “But I did not get this job because of my hus- And when she is not working on for the
$175,000, is far less than what she earned in the band. I was hired based on my experience as a
Photo/Chris Geovanis/Cook County
county taxpayer, she is engaged in philanthrop-
private sector. fiscal manager,” Williams clarified. “And I ic work, something she enjoys.
“You do not come to work for the public sec- absolutely love my job.”
That work includes mentoring to young pro-
tor expecting to make a lot of money especial- Her boss said he is pleased with her work fessionals and serving on the board for several
ly during tough, economic times,” she said. and is happy she agreed to join his manage- To date, she has only hired two people to fill non-profit organizations.
“Yes, I am making less than what I earned in ment team at the county. vacant positions and said when she looks to A mother of one adult son and an daughter,
the private sector but I have gained so much “Jaye is widely experienced in financial hire someone she looks for the best, qualified she reads to relax and especially enjoys reading
more in other ways.” services and strategic management,” Stroger person, not race or political affiliation. relationship books.
She replaces Donna Dunning, who was fired said. “Her history of successful engagement “The staffing here is phenomenal. When we Originally born and raised in southern
this year, in part, because of allegations that she with new initiatives, combined with her exten- were preparing the 2010 budget there were Illinois, the Lincoln Park resident describes
was involved in an inappropriate relationship sive experience in corporate finance, makes her some weeks we worked six days,” recalls herself as a “private, compassionate person
with a former county employee she supervised. an outstanding selection.” Williams. “I have a dedicated staff working who is also a critical thinker.”
Ill. health officials warn against computer scam
looking to fill
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois officials are Prevention. This is not true.
alerting the public to an e-mail scam involv- They claim the CDC has set up a state State officials say these e-mails should be
ing the H1N1 virus. vaccination program to prevent the H1N1 deleted immediately. Clicking on the link
The Illinois Department of Public Health flu virus. They direct the user to create a provided in the e-mail could install a virus
said fraudulent e-mails claim to be from the vaccination profile on the CDC Web site and on the computer. AP
Officials at the U.S. Census Bureau’s office
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and say this is required for anyone 18 and older.
in Chicago have some good news for people
looking for work in Illinois: They’re hiring.
The office says about 100,000 people
across the state to work as census takers for
JAHMESHIA, from page 6 crime victims fund which “may or may not name.
the 2010 Census between December of this
pay,” he said. One fund holds the $10,000 reward and the
year and June of next year. The temporary
beginning, the girl’s disappearance was han- The Crime Victim Compensation Act pays other is an emergency fund to help her mother,
jobs pay between $11.50 and $18.50 an hour.
dled as a missing persons case and that Conner up to $27,000 to families of innocent crime who is unemployed and has three other minor
Most of the jobs also require applicants to
was never considered a runaway. victims, including a maximum $5,000 for children, through this tragic time
be U.S. citizens, have a driver’s license and
Police faced criticism for their handling of funeral and burial expenses. Contributions can be made to The
the use of a vehicle.
the girl’s disappearance, with family members The funeral director said Conner was an Jahmeshia Conner Fund, in care of the law
To get one of the jobs, applicants must take
saying the CPD didn’t do enough to get the innocent victim in her death. firm Gonzalez, Saggio & Harlan, 35 E.
a basic skills test and undergo a background
word out that Conner was missing. “She wasn’t doing anything wrong … of Wacker, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60601.
Leak & Son’s funeral home director Spencer course she wasn’t, she’s 12,” Leak said. Donations should be sent to the attention of
For information on testing times and loca-
Leak told the Defender that Conner’s family Therefore, “We just don’t want to charge the attorney Darryl Tom. For more information,
tions, the Census Bureau asks people call 1-
would not be asked to pay for her services. family in this situation.” call (312) 638-0014.
866-861-2010. Also, there is information at
Leak said the funeral home would seek pay- Additionally, two funds have been set up at Services begin at 11 a.m. with the wake, fol-
ment for the funeral through the state’s special Bank of America in Jahmeshia Conner’s lowed by the funeral at noon.
Chicago Defender • ChicagoDefender.com
• December 9-15, 2009
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