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Our View: A jobs plan that’s working

Updated: December 29, 2012 6:23AM



For those of you who may be uncertain, the Showtime TV series “Shameless” is not about Cook County Assessor Joseph “Joe Jobs” Berrios and his family.

But we think the title aptly describes his actions when it comes to getting jobs for family members.

Our sister newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, revealed recently that Berrios, 60, who’s also the county Democratic chairman, has no less than 13 family members on the payrolls of the county and the state — earning a total of about $900,000 per year.

They include all three of his children, three of his brothers, a sister and three nephews. That’s eye-raising, even in a county with a history of patronage and nepotism.

“Joe Jobs” cited that history in defending his family’s commitment to public service — issuing a statement in which he tells the Sun-Times, “Family members working in government isn’t new in Chicago or any other large city in the United States. You are picking on the Puerto Rican kid from Cabrini-Green who’s sitting alone at the lunch table while all the Irish kids sit together, laughing and grateful he’s there.”

Before the disclosure of the Berrios Full Employment Plan, the assessor was under fire from the county ethics board for giving one of his sons and a sister high-paying jobs in his office shortly after he was elected in 2010.

Each had worked for Berrios when he was on the county tax appeals board and got raises of more than $20,000 when they to moved the assessor’s office. (A daughter who worked for the office before Berrios became assessor got a $10,000 pay hike when he took over.)

Cook County ethics rules (yes, they do exist) don’t allow an official to employ relatives, so the ethics board ordered Berrios to dismiss his son and sister. He refused, saying the rules don’t apply to elected officials other than the county commissioners. That’s bunk. The ethics board rejected his argument and fined him $10,000, which Berrios has ignored.

Berrios seems to think his political power allows him to do as he pleases. He may be right.

That “Joe Jobs,” he’s a piece of work.



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