|Member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners from the 12th District|
2010 – 2018
|Preceded by||Forrest Claypool|
|Succeeded by||Bridget Degnan|
|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives|
from the 11th district
|Preceded by||Rod Blagojevich|
|Succeeded by||Kathleen C. Moore|
|Born||March 2, 1964|
Bossier City, Louisiana
|Alma mater||University of Michigan (B.A.)|
Northwestern University (J.D.)
John Alden Fritchey IV (born March 2, 1964) is a Democratic former member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners who represented the 12th District from 2010 until 2018, and a zoning attorney in Chicago. He was a state representative to the Illinois House of Representatives, and was a former candidate in a Democratic primary for the United States House of Representatives in 2009.
Early life and education
John Fritchey was born at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana. His father, John Alden Fritchey III, was a native of Olney, Illinois, and a Vietnam veteran. His mother emigrated from Morocco. After living in Olney, home to three generations of his father's family, and later in Belleville, Illinois, John and his mother moved to Chicago where he attended grammar school and high school at The Latin School of Chicago.
Fritchey is an attorney in private practice with a specialty in the area of zoning. Fritchey does zoning work before the Chicago City Council's Committee on Zoning. Fritchey is a lobbyist registered with the City of Chicago.
In 2002 Fritchey represented hip hop record producer Rudy Acosta, president of Legion Records, in a zoning change to permit the construction of "a 44-foot-high, approximately 7,000-square-foot structure festooned with turrets and battlements" in the residential neighborhood of Independence Park on Chicago's northwest side. The City of Chicago's Department of Zoning advised against the zoning change. Neighbors complained they never were told of the proposed zoning change despite a requirement they be notified by certified mail. Fritchey said the residents may not have read the notices: "...if they don't like the zoning change they shouldn't blame me because they didn't pay attention to the notice." Fritchey threatened the neighbors with a defamation lawsuit.
Illinois State Representative
Democratic campaign for U.S. House of Representatives
Fritchey was one of many candidates who ran for former US Representative Rahm Emanuel's seat in 2009 Illinois's 5th congressional district special election. In the primary election on March 3, 2009. Fritchey finished second to Mike Quigley in the 12-way race for the Democratic Party nomination. Quigley bested Fritchey in Fritchey's home district, the 11th Illinois Legislative District, and in Fritchey's home ward, the 32nd.
Chicago ward committeeman
In the summer of 2003, long-time 32nd Ward committeeman and former 32nd Ward alderman Theris "Terri" Gabinski announced he was stepping down from the committeeman post. On the day of the filing deadline, December 15, 2003, Fritchey filed to run, but later withdrew, and Gabinski ran unopposed. Four years later, in 2007, Gabinski again announced his retirement from committeeman. On July 27, 2007 Fritchey again announced his candidacy. Fritchey challenged the nominating petitions of his only challenger, Roger Romanelli, and Fritchey ran unopposed on February 5, 2008.
Cook County Commissioner
Fritchey declined to run for re-election to the Illinois House in 2010, instead running for a seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, formerly held by Forrest Claypool. Fritchey was endorsed by both Claypool and Congressman Mike Quigley. According to the Chicago Board of Elections, Fritchey won the election with 75 percent of the vote. As commissioner of the 12th District, Fritchey addressed a variety of issues on behalf of Cook County residents. These included:
- Legislation against the sales tax and sugar tax. Fritchey sponsored legislation to roll back the County sales tax and voted against County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's legislation to later increase the sales tax again. He was also the first commissioner to come out against the recently enacted sugary drink tax and helped lead the fight against it.
- Property tax/sales tax freezes to 2020. Fritchey drafted and helped pass the Cook County Taxation Predictability and Long-Term Fiscal Forecasting Amendment, which freezes the county's property and sales tax rates until January 1, 2020. Fritchey supports that it is next to impossible for a family to responsibly plan a budget with the ever-present uncertainty of higher or new taxes and to help address this problem, during the FY2016 budget, Fritchey introduced and passed the Taxpayers’ Predictability Amendment that freezes the County Sales Taxes and Aggregate Property Tax Levy for FY2017, FY2018 and FY2019. The ordinance further requires that prior to any future efforts to increase either the sales or property tax rates, the county Bureau of Finance must provide the Board with a fiscal forecast that analyzes revenues, expenditures and planned debt issuance for three years should the tax change occur.
- Consolidated offices of the Recorder of Deeds and the County Clerk. Fritchey drafted and passed legislation that gave voters the option to eliminate the office of the Recorder of Deeds and merge its functions into the office of the County Clerk. In the November 2016 general election, voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot referendum, and the two offices will be merged by 2020. This historic legislation was the first of its kind in Cook County in over 40 years. Fritchey supported the claim that for far too long, Cook County has failed to deviate from the status quo regardless of changes in culture and technology. This initiative had the support of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s, the Southtown Star, The Civic Federation, The Better Government Association and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-5).
- Information security ordinance. Fritchey introduced and passed legislation to create the County’s first comprehensive information security ordinance so that Cook County citizens can be assured that the information entrusted to County agencies is safe, secure, and protected from unauthorized access, use, or destruction. As Chairman of the Technology Committee, Fritchey introduced this ordinance to give County agencies the consistent information security that they need, and to give County taxpayers and residents the peace of mind they deserve.
- City/County collaboration. Fritchey was selected to serve on a city/county joint-collaboration committee assembled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Board President Toni Preckwinkle, created to increase government efficiency. After analyzing and reporting on duplicative spending, the committee paved the way for collaborations between the two governments that have secured almost $70 million in savings.
- Parental Leave Reform. Fritchey's legislation to update the county's parental leave policy allows new mothers and fathers to claim disability in order to receive paid parental leave, enabling them to focus on the needs of their families. Fritchey fought to provide paid parental leave for county employees and thought the current policy was an antiquated notion and was not one that was aligned with where policy setters wanted to be, where employers should strive to be, and did not support the nature of attracting and retaining qualified employees.
- Paid Sick Leave. Fritchey sponsored a law that requires employers to give workers paid sick time, bringing the suburbs in line with existing city laws. The ordinance allows 420,000 workers in Suburban Cook County to earn up to 40 hours of sick time a year – in addition to the 450,000 Chicago workers covered by the Chicago Earned Sick Time Ordinance. The approval makes Cook County the largest local government to guarantee paid sick leave. To keep working families from having to choose between losing pay or taking care of sick family members, Fritchey passed paid sick leave requiring employers to provide workers with accrued sick time during the jobs. Also, to help working families make ends meet, he passed legislation increasing the minimum wage throughout Cook County. And through CountyCare, he has provided access to affordable health care for an additional 400,000 people across the county.
- Sweatshop-Free Procurement. Fritchey drafted and passed an amendment to the county's procurement code that prevents any county contract from acquiring goods from sweatshop labor.
- Government transparency. As chairman of the board's Technology and Innovation Committee, Fritchey spearheaded development of the budget transparency website LookatCook.com, which presents visitors with a visual breakdown of how the county spends taxpayer dollars. Fritchey also passed legislation that made Cook County one of the largest municipalities in the country to open up its data to the public. As a result of his Open Government initiative, people now have access to information about how Cook County operates.
- Bail Bond Reform. Fritchey worked on revamping Cook County's bail bond system to make it more efficient and fair.
- Commonsense marijuana policies. During his tenure in the Legislature, Fritchey co-sponsored the bill that created Illinois' recently enacted medical cannabis programs. Fritchey, along with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, led the call for the City of Chicago to enact an ordinance allowing Chicago police officers to issue tickets for possession of small amounts of marijuana rather than arresting offenders. Fritchey shared that each year, Chicago police make around 23,000 arrests for marijuana possession. And when looking at the legalization of recreational marijuana, it is clear that it is a legislative trifecta. Fritchey supported that the right social policy that is supported by the majority of voters; would generate millions of dollars in new revenue; and it would dramatically lower the costs and burdens on the criminal justice system due to the fact that whenever anybody is arrested for low-level drug possession in any of the 132 municipalities in Cook County, it’s the county that then bears the cost. The Chicago City Council moved forward on the ordinance, which was sponsored by Alderman Danny Solis (25th) and passed with the support of the Mayor.
- Violence prevention. Fritchey created the Cook County Violence Prevention, Intervention and Reduction Advisory Committee. This advocacy and resource group promotes and helps fund various violence prevention programs throughout the county.
- Animal welfare. A tireless animal rights advocate, Fritchey wrote and introduced the ordinance that bans retail sales of puppy mill dogs, ordered an audit of the Cook County Animal Care & Control department and passed legislation that created a countywide Animal Abuse Registry.
- Respecting our deceased, medical examiner. "The way in which we treat the least fortunate among us says a great deal about who we are as a society." Since coming to the Cook County Board, Fritchey sponsored 3 pieces of legislation to ensure that Cook County handles indigent and unknown deaths and burials with the respect that these individuals deserve. He sponsored and helped pass legislation which clarifies the role and responsibilities of the Office of the Medical Examiner in preparing the bodies for burial, as well as the methods with which the burials are to be conducted by cemeteries that perform burials on behalf of the County. He also sponsored an amendment to the Cook County code, which gives the President and Board of Commissioners greater discretion in removing the Medical Examiner for cause. Previously the term of office for the Medical Examiner was essentially a lifetime appointment.
Fritchey left the office upon the swearing-in of his successor, attorney and successful 2018 Democratic primary challenger Bridget Degnan.
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