Cook County Board wants power to appoint Illinois public health system's next CEO, determine salary package

Several Cook County Board members are seeking more oversight and control of the Illinois county-run health system, including the ability to veto the selection of its next CEO, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinckle wants to amend a 12-year-old ordinance to give the county board final say in hiring of Cook County Health & Hospital System's next CEO, as well as the person's bonus structure and severance package.

The proposed changes come after Cook County Health & Hospital System's board of directors voted unanimously to oust Jay Shannon, MD, from his CEO role, and after news broke that he was being offered a $542,000 severance package and an annual pension of more than $250,000.

Ms. Preckwinkle and several other key commissioners are seeking the ability to directly appoint the chair of the health system's board and mandate that the new CEO meet with her monthly.

The Cook County Health System board unanimously voted in November to end Dr. Shannon's contract, citing the need for new ideas to address the system's challenges. 

"The board will be seeking new ideas and leadership to address the system’s financial and service challenges," M. Hill Hammock, the chair of the county health system, told WBEZ in November. "Fulfilling the broad service responsibilities of a public health care system, addressing the increase in charity care and ensuring the staff needed to deliver those services will require changes."

Debra Carey, currently the two-hospital system's deputy CEO of operations, is serving as interim CEO while the board searches for Dr. Shannon's replacement.

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