One week after Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman (R-17th) announced she was resigning from the County Board to take a private sector job, the 17th District’s Republican township committeemen selected Sean Morrison, the owner of a security company and Palos Township Republican committeeman to replace her.
The vote came during a meeting of the committeemen on Wednesday night at Hackney’s restaurant in Palos Park. Morrison was immediately sworn in to new post by Cook County Circuit Judge James Riley at the restaurant.
Cook County law calls for the township committeemen of the resigning county board member’s political party to pick a replacement. Morrison will serve the remaining three-and-a-half years left on Gorman’s term. Since 2012, the 17th District has included almost all of Riverside and much of Brookfield. It is a narrow west suburban district that ranges from Orland Park on the south to Des Plaines on the north.
Morrison, 47, is the owner of Alsip based Morrison Security Corporation. He graduated from Brother Rice High School and attended Moraine Valley Community College for two years. He was appointed Palos Township Republican committeeman in 2012.
In 2010 and 2102, Morrison unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Dan Patlak for a post on the Cook County Board of Review in the Republican primary.
Morrison said he will use his business experience to guide his actions on the county board.
“I intend to bring a businessman’s approach to this,” Morrison said. “I’m a fiscal conservative, and I hope to carry forward the many efficiencies that have been put in place.”
Morrison said he would have voted against the sales tax increase that the county board approved last week. Gorman voted present on that vote. Morrison that while he would not shy away from a fight he hoped to get things done and work with his fellow board members.
“I’m a very pragmatic person,” Morrison said. “I’m not going to throw bombs; I’m not going to call people names. That’s not how I operate.”
Morrison was the only person nominated for the post.
Maine Township Committeeman Char Foss Eggeman cast the only vote against Morrison, saying that she had nothing against Morrison but was troubled by the speed of the process to pick a successor to Gorman.
“A little more of a considered, slow, thoughtful process would have been appropriate, so I took issue with the time frame,” Eggeman said.
But both Morrison and Gorman said that it was important to pick a successor as soon as possible.
Morrison ran an aggressive campaign in his Board of Review primary races against Patlak, whose supporters claimed Morrison wasn’t a true Republican and pointed out that he had not voted in a Republican primary prior to 2010.
Morrison said Wednesday that he grew up in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood and didn’t move to the suburbs until about six years ago. Living in Chicago there was not much of a reason to vote in a Republican primary, he said.
“There were no Republicans to vote for,” said Morrison, adding that he always voted against the incumbent 19th Ward alderman.
Morrison also was criticized in his primary races for his involvement with a short-lived television show featuring what Patlak supporters described as female mud wrestling. Morrison said his only involvement with the program was financial and described the show as female mixed martial arts geared to 13 to 17 year olds.
Riverside Township Committeeman Mike Dropka had high praise for Morrison.
“I think he’s an excellent choice,” said Dropka, who voted for Morrison. “We’ve been very blessed with Liz as our commissioner, and I think he will follow through and follow Liz’s footsteps and serve us well.”
Dropka was selected as Riverside Republican Township committeeman in March to replace the late Judy Baar Topinka.
Gorman had served on the county board since 2002 and was re-elected to her fourth term in November 2014. She resigned to take a government affairs position with a Fortune 100 company but has declined to say who she will be working for. She said she starts her new job on Monday.
Gorman chaired Wednesday’s meeting and praised Morrison.
“He built his business from the ground up,” Gorman said. “He’s not scared to take on issues head on. His business acumen and past experiences will be his guide in taking the tough decisions in moving the county board forward.”