Monday, May 14, 2012

EXTRA: So much for cost-savings!

A part of me is wondering if Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, D-Chicago, is one of the few elected officials with any level of common sense.
GAINER: Stating the obvious

That sure was the impression she gave off on Monday during the county board’s session.

IT WAS DURING the portion of the meeting devoted to the board’s Finance Committee. After approving various settlements of lawsuits (including one related to the bad behavior of now-incarcerated police Commander Jon Burge), the board members heard a revenue report.

A fairly routine procedure, I might add. Except for the fact that committee Chairman John Daley, D-Chicago, ended the report by waving his blue-bound copy and telling his colleagues that in the future they would not be receiving such printed reports.

Instead, beginning with the report intended for the county board meeting on June 5, the report would be sent to each of the 17 commissioners via e-mail.

Then, Daley said, the commissioners would be able to print it up for themselves.

WHICH STRUCK ME as a nonsense move, since it was supposedly meant to be a cost-saving measure (less printing, along with less paper and ink). But if each commissioner is having  their secretary print up their own copies (somehow, I suspect most of the board members get confused trying to figure out their laptops), where’s the savings.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only person to have that thought pop into my head.

Because right after I thought it, Gainer came out and said it.

“The secretary (to the board of Cook County Commissioners) may save (printing up) 100 pieces of paper, and the officials will now print up 100 more pieces of paper?” she asked.

IF THE COUNTY’S objective is to get people to think in terms of reading things off their screens, then perhaps the move makes sense. Although for those of us who remain more comfortable reading large sums of copy in an ink-on-paper format, then there just isn’t any real savings to the change.

And it certainly won’t save a penny if people start thinking of the matter in the way that Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy, D-Crestwood, did. She semi-seriously said she would need to start purchasing a better quality of paper for her computer printer to make her own copy of the report.

“You’d better increase our budgets for our offices,” she said.

So much for a routine report remaining routine!


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