Chicago, Illinois , United States
Nov 07, 2010 02:34am
|Info||Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, 52, is the former Superintendent of the Chicago Park District, a $400 million agency with 3,200 employees. He has also served as deputy state treasurer, deputy commissioner of the Cook County Board of (Property Tax) Appeals, and Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. As the top deputy to Pat Quinn in the early 80s, Forrest helped reform the agency overseeing property tax appeals in Cook County, after numerous employees went to prison for tax bribery. As deputy state treasurer, Forrest oversaw innovative programs that helped create jobs and spur affordable housing development. |
As parks chief, Forrest transformed an agency described as “dysfunctional” by the Civic Federation, a “string of ghost towns” by the Chicago Tribune, and “a patronage system for employees, not citizens” by Friends of the Parks. Forrest wiped out large budget deficits, restored park facilities after decades of neglect, and dismantled a vast patronage empire – resulting in lower property taxes even as record amounts of money were invested in neighborhood parks. Forrest put 100 police officers on park beats and developed award-winning after-school programs for kids.
As a two-term county commissioner, Forrest has led the fight against the Stroger tax increases; passed whistleblower legislation to ferret out fraud, and an ordinance requiring disclosure of hidden interests in government contracts; funding to help expand the county’s child advocacy center for abused kids; and new dollars for Access to Care, an organization serving the health care needs of the working poor. In 2004, Senator-elect Barack Obama appointed Forrest chairman of his transition committee to the United States Senate.
Forrest is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois College of Law, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the law review. He resides in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago with his wife and three children.