Anyone looking to wade through the myriad laws governing Cook County can now do it via a series of clicks on the World Wide Web. The culmination of more than two years of work, Cook County’s book of ordinances are now officially available through the county’s Web site-www.cookcountygov.com.
“This project has been a need for the county for a long time,” said County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), chairman of the Legislative and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. He called the project “invaluable” to county government, the legal profession and the public.
The online system provides an easily navigable reference to any of the county’s ordinances on topics from alcohol to zoning. The lone exception is the building code, which the county plans to incorporate in the future. The system is expected to provide more order to the process of locating, drafting and amending county ordinances.
Cook County Commissioner Anthony J. Peraica (R-Riverside), speaking as one of the board’s several attorney’s, drew laughter when he called the new system “as close to Nirvana as one gets on this board of commissioners.”
On a more serious note, he added that it would “make county government more open, transparent and available to citizens.”
Kathy Markham, Cook County Internet project manager, said the service will have “a tremendous long-term administrative benefit” to county government. She added there are numerous advantages beyond administrative efficiency, citing the ability of Cook County Sheriff’s police officers to call up ordinances directly from their squad cars.
The process of creating a single codified document of all county ordinances, which Suffredin called a “Herculean” task, began under former Board President John H. Stroger Jr. Jerry Pray, an industrial engineer with the Bureau of Administration, emphasized that the effort incorporated many departments and agencies across Cook County.
Suffredin said he hopes to schedule hearings in the next 30 days on a pending ordinance that would create a legislative bureau that would ensure uniformity in drafting and updating county ordinances.