Cook County's $3.2 Million Patronage Tab

"Cook County will pay more than $100,000 each to four victims of illegal political patronage as part of 108 awards announced Thursday by a court-appointed hiring monitor," the Chicago Tribune reports.

Julia Nowicki awarded about $3 million to people who lost out on jobs and promotions because of politics between August 2004 and February 2007.

The awards, ranging from $250 to $323,000, will be paid by the county in the next 60 days.

"In all, 66 current county employees will receive part of the settlement cash," Mark Konkol reports in the Sun-Times. One of the largest payouts is to 20-year Cook County Animal Control worker Margaret Bageanis, who will receive $130,000 for "years of being passed over for promotions and doing the work of lazy 'political appointees'."

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger insisted that the "vast majority" of the patronage claims predated his administration and pledged to "implement practices that prevent unlawful political discrimination, now and in the future."