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Chicago, IL – Cook County Commissioner Sean M. Morrison was pleased to join the Cook County Dept. of Veteran Affairs to honor the 2016 Silver Star Banner recipients at the June 29 Cook County Board Meeting. Silver Star Banner recipients are those veterans who have been wounded in a war zone as determined by the Department of Defense.
“It’s always humbling to honor our nation’s veterans and even more so when it’s our own constituents. The bravery, dedication and sacrifice by our veterans is immeasurable and should never be taken for granted or forgotten. Our Silver Star Banner recipients represent the very best our nation has to offer and so pleased to recognize them,” stated Commissioner Morrison.
Attending today’s ceremony from the 17th District was 2016 Silver Star Banner recipient United States Marine Corps Veteran John L. Szymanski (Pictured) of Palos Park. Sergeant John Szymanski, a Vietnam War veteran, is a three-time Purple Heart recipient and a recipient of the Navy Cross which is awarded for extraordinary heroism. The Navy Cross is the second highest military decoration that may be awarded to a member of the Navy, Marine Corps, (and to members of the Coast Guard when operating under the authority of the Dept. of the Navy).
Also honored today from the 17th District with a Silver Star Banner, but not in attendance, were: Army Veteran Michael E. Lake, Army Veteran William E. Scanlin and Army Veteran Michael J. Zarembski.
To qualify for the Silver Star Service Banner Program, Silver Star Families of America define wounded as the “Definition of war zone as determined by the Department of Defense”: Any Armed Forces personnel either currently serving honorably or those who have served honorably from any war, who having served in a war zone has been wounded by enemy action or who have been injured or contracted a serious illness that could be rated at least 10% disabled by the Department of Veteran Affairs. All wounds, injuries or illnesses must have originated in a war zone, including: Purple Heart recipients, victims of friendly fire, injured in a war zone, and those who suffer from PTS, TBI, Agent Orange Effects and Gulf War Syndrome.
Palos Hills, IL – Commissioner Sean M. Morrison joined Fire Chief Michael Schofield of the Orland Fire Protection District on Wednesday to present a fire truck to Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) and its Fire Science Academy for student training.
Pictured Above: (L-R) Andrew Hufnagl, Coordinator, MVCC Fire Science & Emergency Medical Services, Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison, 17th District, and Chief Michael Schofield, Orland Fire Protection District, inspect the donated Fire Truck in honor of Daniel Capuano.
The fire truck was dedicated and named in remembrance of the late Chicago Firefighter Daniel Capuano who died in the line of duty last December at a burning warehouse in the city of Chicago’s South Chicago neighborhood. The event also featured a ceremonial procession of fire trucks from several other local suburban fire departments in attendance for the special dedication in honor of Firefighter Capuano.
The fire truck, a 1999 Pierce, could’ve easily been discarded in the usual trade-in or re-sale fashion as in most vehicle transactions. But, Chief Schofield and the Orland Fire Protection District recognized that its fire truck still could provide valuable use and worked with Commissioner Morrison’s 17th District Office to explore possible re-use opportunities. There were many discussions over a period of time as to how and where the fire truck could be utilized, which ultimately led to MVCC’s Fire Science Academy.
“This is where intergovernmental cooperation is vital to the benefit of our communities. And in this very special instance, a direct benefit to the students of the Fire Science Academy who have committed themselves to a potential career as a firefighter, and let us not forget, it is no small commitment they are making,” stated Commissioner Morrison.
Representing MVCC at the dedication ceremony were Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, President, Mr. Joseph Murphy, Chair, Board of Trustees and Mr. Andrew Hufnagl, Coordinator for the Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services Program. The MVCC Fire Science Academy is designed for students who wish to become eligible for initial fire department hiring lists. The academy is approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
“I’m pleased to see that this occasion is very unique as it sends a message of commitment to education as well as an illustration of deep respect and honor for those individuals who dedicate and ultimately give their lives to serve and protect our communities. Daniel Capuano deserves this hero’s honor,” concluded Commissioner Morrison.
There is a long legacy of honoring our fallen firefighters by dedicating fire trucks and other emergency apparatuses’ in their memory. Daniel Capuano was from the Palos/Orland Township community and members of his family still reside in our community to this day. Additionally, prior to his service with the Chicago Fire Department he was a member of the Evergreen Park Fire Department. All of these communities share MVCC as their school for secondary education so it is only fitting that Daniel Capuano is honored in that tradition.
Chicago, IL – A 66% tax increase to Cook County’s special use gasoline and fuel tax proposed by Commissioner Richard Boykin hit a wall of opposition at today’s board meeting. The sponsor of the proposed tax hike deferred the proposal instead of calling for a vote so as to avoid a resounding defeat on the board floor.
“The gas tax increase was a fiscally irresponsible proposal. We worked hard to get that message out to taxpayers and businesses and we were successful today in turning back another regressive tax increase,” stated Commissioner Morrison.
The proposed gas tax increase had been earmarked to fund several new, yet vaguely defined, county government programs. Not only was the 66% gas tax increase questionable, but there were also questions about the new programs that would expand the size of county government by duplicating programs and overlapping services that already exist.
“Asking the county board to approve this tax increase along with the creation of new programs at a time when Cook County government is faced with serious fiscal challenges was extremely misguided. We need to be focused on stabilizing the longtime fiscal health of Cook County government instead of trying to score short term headlines in the media,” concluded Commissioner Morrison.
A 66% tax increase to Cook County’s special use gasoline and fuel tax has been proposed by Commissioner Richard Boykin. This proposed tax increase has been earmarked to fund several new, yet vaguely defined, county government programs. Not only is the 66% gas tax increase questionable, but there are also questions about the new programs that appear to be expanding the size of government by duplicating programs and overlapping services that already exist.
In my view, attempting to impose a tax increase at this time would be circumventing the importance of the county’s budget process. A budget hearing is the proper forum to testify and debate the merits of a tax increase, especially one that specifically expands the size and costs of running county government.
When consolidation of services is being examined at all levels of government, I believe it is best practices to first thoroughly analyze the efficiency of all existing programs and services already provided by Cook County government.
Yes, there are very serious issues of crime and unemployment that plague certain areas of our community and yes, we must make every attempt to properly tackle those issues. But, it would be most effective to do it in a comprehensive approach, not piecemeal.
The county board has been asked to approve this tax increase along with the creation of new programs at a time when Cook County government is faced with serious fiscal challenges. We must be prudent in our allocation of tax dollars and that is why I look forward to working with my colleagues to closely analyze the effectiveness of our existing programs so that they are providing the very best services to address the needs of our constituents.
Sean M. Morrison
Cook County Commissioner
A Cook County ordinance has been proposed to create a “Youth Employment Special Fund”. The sponsors of this proposal intend to fund this program by taking from property owners a five percent (5%) reduction in an economic tax incentive benefit; incentives that provide economic stimulus.
The county board has been asked to approve an extremely vague two paragraph proposal which provides no specific details on funding accountability or program implementation. The most fundamental questions have not been addressed: What is the structural framework of this program and how will it be implemented? Who would have oversight of these funds? Has a specific cost been identified for this program?
Cook County could potentially spend millions of tax dollars on a youth employment program that does not yet exist on paper. A “trust us, we’ll figure it out later” strategy is irresponsible.
With no specific details to be considered, this proposal has the potential to appear as a slush fund. And after watching Governor Pat Quinn’s NRI program (similar in nature) come under federal investigation in 2014, I cannot support legislation that does not outline its fiscal policies and oversight measures in a very transparent and detailed manner. Though well intended, vague generalities do not always serve the best purpose nor does it instill confidence in our constituents, the taxpayers.
At a time when Cook County is faced with serious fiscal issues, we must be prudent in our allocation of tax dollars and that is why I look forward to continue working with my colleagues to create the appropriate fiscal policies and oversight measures for the betterment of Cook County government.
Sean M. Morrison
Cook County Commissioner
118 N. Clark Street, Suite 567
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Phone : 312-603-4215
15040 Ravinia Ave, Suite 44
Orland Park, Illinois 60462