Chicago, Illinois , United States
Aug 30, 2019 01:52pm
|Info||Darlena Burnett currently serves as Chief Deputy for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office. Since 1998 Burnett has been responsible for the efficient operation of the Recorder of Deeds office for this, the second largest, county in the nation. Aside from administering a $12 million budget for an office generating revenues in excess of $75 million and providing oversight to a staff of 225 employees, Darlena works diligently to provide the residents of Cook County with the government service they deserve. |
In an effort to provide Cook County residents with protection against the fastest growing white collar crime in America, Darlena helped develop and implement a plan to conceal valuable, identifying information from all office records. Darlena also supported a large investment in technology for the office that some deemed unnecessary. Within a year the upgrades, which automated the Recorder of Deeds office allowing for better communication between systems, employees, and the public, paid for itself. Residents continue to benefit from convenient, electronic access to a number forms and information. Because vendors hired to carry out the upgrades were required by the office to employ local residents, the investment also provided immediate jobs and long-lasting training to many Chicagoans.
As Cook County Commissioner, Darlena took spending head-on when she proposed a model justifying the cost of building the new Cook County Hospital (John Stroger Hospital). The existing hospital was costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs alone, while medical advancements were making the structure all but obsolete. Though her peers had reached a stalemate in the decision-making process, Darlena offered up a plan that eventually led to construction of the new hospital.
During this time Darlena also served as Commissioner of the Forest Preserve, where she worked to improve the safety of the county’s preserves. Siding with Conservationists on the subject of prairie restoration, which returns the preserves to their natural state, Darlena supported removing harmful plant species and dangerous overgrowth; and ultimately beautifying our forest preserves.
In 2002 Darlena was elected State Central Committeeperson. In one of her proudest moments, Darlena helped shape policy changing the early primary voting order of the States. A change to which some attribute the eventual nomination of Barrack Obama. As Super Delegate in 2004, Darlena went against party leadership to support Barrack Obama’s run for Senate and was one of the first to support Obama’s Presidential campaign.
When Harold Washington urged the people of Chicago to become involved in government, Darlena looked to her union at the Cook County Sherriff’s office. First serving as a Union Steward Darlena lobbied in Washington D.C. for Dental Benefits for herself and other co-workers; who, at the time, were considered the working poor. She would later lobby for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). After only a few encounters with union leadership, Darlena was appointed Union Contract Negotiator. Darlena still assists on the management side of the labor union, keeps in contact with union leaders, and attends union events.
Community involvement is a passion of Darlena’s that she constantly promotes. As a volunteer, Darlena has served as Treasurer for Friends of Jesse White and served as Deputy Campaign Manager for White’s first run for Secretary of State. As a member and Deaconess of First Baptist Congregational Church Darlena volunteered as Treasurer, managing a budget of a little over a million dollars. Darlena also helped Deborah’s Place, a shelter for homeless women, obtain space in the 27th Ward and develop a work training and employment program. On the Board of AIDS Care, Darlena went door-to-door in the 24th Ward to obtain community backing for affordable housing specially outfitted to provide numerous social services for individuals and families affected by AIDS. Though 24th Ward residents were initially apprehensive, Darlena spoke personally with them about the lively transition the housing would bring to the area.