Clerk's office behind in sharing county court finesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Clerk's office lagging behind in sharing county court fines
March 22, 2000
BY MOLLY SULLIVAN AND ART GOLAB SUBURBAN REPORTERS
The check is in the mail, the Cook County circuit court clerk's office is promising the City of Chicago, 135 suburbs, the county and state after admitting it's three months behind in sending their cut of payments from court fines.
The total owed: more than $14 million.
The court clerk's office blames a computer programming glitch. Suburban officials complained they were never notified.
"They haven't told us anything," said George Dulzo, the police chief in Hickory Hills, which got its last check in November.
The city, Cook County's suburbs, the state and the county get a cut of fines levied in all local courts. Those cover everything from speeding tickets to criminal cases. Every month, the clerk's office is supposed to mail checks.
Wade Nelson, a spokesman for Clerk Aurelia Pucinski, said the checks will be in the mail this week and conceded "we should have done a better job communicating" that there was a problem.
He said the office is three months behind--for October, November and December. The fine-disbursement schedule allows for a two-month backlog, Nelson said, adding that the system should be fixed in time to have January payments ready by April, when they normally would be sent.
The backlog came about, he said, when a new computer system was put into use at the start of the year. Some programming codes weren't changed, so the system didn't properly tabulate how much was owed to which governments.
Nelson said Chicago Systems Group, the firm that was paid $1.5 million to convert the system, is almost finished with repairs.
The checks this week are an estimate of what's due. According to the estimates, the county is owed $8 million, the city $2 million, the state $1.75 million and 135 suburbs together almost $2.5 million.
Wilmette--which usually gets $50,000 a year from court fines toward its $37 million annual budget--hasn't been paid since October and is due about $16,000.
"Clearly, it's an inconvenience," said Wilmette Finance Director Bob Amoruso.
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