Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 4262 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

After March 20, Dorothy Brown hopes to continue the post as clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County—a position she has held for more than a decade. However, she faces a potentially stiff challenge in the primary from Ald. Ricardo Munoz. Brown talked with Windy City Times about her duties and her opponent.

NOTE: View downloadable election guide charts at the following link. This election chart was updated online on Tuesday March 13 with corrections and updates. .

Windy City Times: Some people may not know what your duties are as clerk. Could you discuss those?

Dorothy Brown: The clerk of the court is the official record-keeper of the court system.

It's good to compare this office with the city clerk, who maintains the minutes of the city council and issues the city stickers, and the county clerk, who runs the elections and who maintains the minutes of the county board. I handle all the records from the circuit court.

We have to create case files, maintain electronic and manual versions of case files, and then deliver court files to judges. Then, we have to pick them back up from the judges and put them in storage.

WCT: And you've been clerk for more than a decade?

Dorothy Brown: Yes; I was elected in 2000. The significant thing is that this court system is the second-largest in the country. We have almost a million new cases filed every year. Data has to be entered and images are entered into the electronic dockets. It sounds simplistic but it's actually very, very complex because it's so humongous.

WCT: What are two of your biggest accomplishments?

Dorothy Brown: I'm very proud of our customer service. I told my staff that every case file represents a human life. People deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect when they come to the court system. We worked on customer-service training, and we got on top of things when when we had a complaint about an employee.

We focused on going above and beyond the call of duty for requirements for the court, such as interpreters—Spanish, Polish and even Mandarin; we also have interpreters for Hindu and a lot of different languages. Also, we have online forms for orders of protection. Then there's mortgage foreclosure surplus, so people can look to see if they have any surplus money if they lost any property. Right now I have $16 million due to people who lost their property and the bank sold it for more than it's worth.

In addition, we got a grant from the National Archives Association. We actually have microfilm for immigration documents we had from the time the clerk was responsible for that. Online, we have an index for those documents. We also do expungement seminars; I did one recently [ at Center on Halsted ] .

The second thing I'm proud of is the technology. When I took office, the system was very outdated—to the extent that they were still writing in the books. We had to automate the divisions, and we worked on bringing in a $5-million integrated cashiering system. We worked on an electronic filing system in 2009 that the [ Illinois ] Supreme Court approved of; we're waiting on the court to approve [ that system ] for additional case types. We also have our imaging system; we have 50 million documents that we have imaged that the public can access.

WCT: How can the system be improved further?

Dorothy Brown: For my next term, my plan is to have a paperless courtroom, [ including ] the bench and the jury. You could have a screen popping down—like at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.—where a witness can be cross-examined outside the courtroom. People could bring in expert witnesses from all over the world.

WCT: Your opponent has said that you run your office unprofessionally and that you've even mismanaged a petition case against him. How do you respond to those charges?

Dorothy Brown: I didn't have a petition case against him, number one. Our office is so well-run that the chief justice of the Supreme Court appointed me to a committee to help the court come up with a policy on how to balance privacy with the public's right to see documents online. I'm always updating my skills, in terms of management. I make sure we have accountability all the way down the chain. I went to the Kennedy School of Government, and I observed performance-management techniques we will be implementing very shortly.

Of course, my opponent would say these things but he's simply wrong. He doesn't even have a website after 18 years. He talks technology, and he doesn't even have a website about what's going on in the ward. The only web page he has is with the City of Chicago. He has a campaign website, but for the office itself? No.

He told the Sun-Times he didn't have a website because he didn't want to self-promote. I said, "The only thing you have there is a web page, and the only thing you have [ on it ] is a bio—and an outdated bio, at that." If that's not self-promoting, I don't know what is. What's the cost of putting of putting up a website—$250?

WCT: I saw a recent report on CBS Chicago that had you saying you found $700,000 in your office funds that you didn't know you had. How accurate is that?

Dorothy Brown: That was something [ Cook County Commissioner John ] Fritchey said. I know every dime in my budget; my background is in finance. I think John Fritchey made that statement to reporters after that meeting, and it was absolutely not true.

The county board had actually deleted one of my departments; the board can provide funds but can't make any decisions about how I run my office, so it was actually an error on their part. So when I went to the budget director and the chief of staff for the president, and explained the error they made and that the department they deleted was one that helped to export evidence, secure our floors and investigate. When I explained that to the county board, it was indicated that, in order to have the department reinstated, I'd have to transfer funds from some of the other line items, so that's what we did. We were able to pull out about $200,000.

So Fritchey went to the media pool and said, "She found all this money she didn't know she had." He led that charge, and I know he was working with my opponent; they were trying to use my budget time for politics.

WCT: We now have civil unions in Illinois, as you know. How do you feel about same-sex marriage being the next step?

Dorothy Brown: Well, I want to see how civil unions evolve. Of course, I supported it and we've done everything we could. I was at the civil-union ceremony over at [ Millennium ] Park [ last June ] . We should work with the federal government to have them recognized on a federal level—pension benefits, taxation, housing, that sort of thing. We'll keep our minds and eyes open when it comes to moving from that.

WCT: Talk a little about your history of LGBT support.

Dorothy Brown: I've received two awards from a Black gay youth group. I'll get that information to you.

My office is very diverse. We have our annual event in June honoring various organizations in the LGBT community. We hosted the expungement seminar at the Center on Halsted last year. I have supported increased funding for HIV/AIDS treatment. I worked really closely with the [ now-defunct ] Let's Talk, Let's Test Foundation. I participated in the AIDS Walk—we were actually the highest donors to that effort. When I first took office, I signed an order banning discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation. Of course, I participate in the pride parade every year.

WCT: Is there anything else you wanted to say about your candidacy?

Dorothy Brown: I feel that the voters should re-elect me because I made promises when I took office in 2000, and I have kept those promises. We have revolutionized the office, improved customer service and made it run more efficiently. And, in the tight budgetary times I inherited, I turned the deficit into a profit and brought $365 million to the county. So we have a proven track record of management, and it's important that we have someone who can properly manage that office. I feel I'm a guardian of the public trust.

WCT: By the way, I know that you endured a personal loss regarding your home [ in a fire ] recently. How are you doing?

Dorothy Brown: Well, you know, I'm just being strong. I'm just trying to get through all the different things that are out there.

See .

This article shared 4262 times since Wed Mar 14, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Personal PAC holds virtual annual awards luncheon 2021-10-25
- Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock was the keynote speaker at Personal PAC's 28th annual awards luncheon Oct. 20. The event was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Personal PAC's vision, according to its website, is ...

Gay News

Twitter suspends Indiana politician for misgendering trans official 2021-10-25
- Twitter suspended the account of U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., after he intentionally misgendered Health and Human Services official, Dr. Rachel Levine—the first transgender person to hold an office that ...

Gay News

REVIEW Randy Rainbow tackles politics, shows talent at The Chicago Theatre 2021-10-24
- YouTube sensation Randy Rainbow brought The Pink Glasses Tour to The Chicago Theatre on Oct. 22. Best known for videos that parody musical numbers with a focus on politics, the heavily curated show began with a ...

Gay News

WORLD Indian commission, queer royals, MTV, Putin, attack in Jamaica 2021-10-24
- India's National Medical Commission has ordered publishers and medical schools to edit their textbooks and curricula to exclude discriminatory and unscientific portrayals of LGBTI people, according to Human Rights Watch. ...

Gay News

CTA proposes reduced fare changes 2021-10-22
- During a time when the prices of just about everything seems to increase, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is proposing the opposite, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. The CTA has proposed slashing some fares to boost ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker announces campaign to increase COVID-19 booster rates among older Illinoisans 2021-10-20
--From a press release - CHICAGO — With 1.5 million Illinoisans currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot and millions more set to become eligible in the coming weeks, Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) ...

Gay News

EI celebrates Pritzker for increase in LGBTQ leaders appointed to state boards, commissions 2021-10-19
--From a Equality Illinois press release - CHICAGO — On October 1, 2021, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker released his 2021 Boards and Commissions Appointment Demographics Report. The bottom line of the report is that a wider cross section of Illinoisans are applying and ...

Gay News

Ald. Maria Hadden encourages community to be active participants 2021-10-18
By Cris Villalonga-Vivoni - AIt was Chicago Ald. Maria Hadden's friends who convinced her to run for city council as the 49th Ward's alderperson. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hadden moved to Rogers Park 20 years ago after graduating from The ...

Gay News

Lightfoot, Chicago to celebrate WNBA champion Chicago Sky Oct. 19 with parade, rally 2021-10-18
--From a press release - CHICAGO — The City of Chicago will celebrate the 2021 WNBA Champion Chicago Sky on Tuesday, Oct. 19, with a downtown parade and rally. The parade will begin at 11AM when the team departs from Wintrust ...

Gay News

Colin Powell dies from COVID-19 complications 2021-10-18
- Colin Powell—the first Black U.S. secretary of state, whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape the country's foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st—died from ...

Gay News

WORLD Plus magazine, The Guardian, Dutch princess, anti-trans ruling 2021-10-17
- The largest circulated HIV publication in the country, Plus, unveiled its 25 Amazing People of the Year, per a press release. Just a few of the individuals are actor Billy Porter; Mandisa Nikita Dukashe: South African ...

Gay News

Activists speak about former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's LGBTQ legacy 2021-10-14
by Max Lubbers - LGBTQ+ advocates reflected on former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's legacy at Center on Halsted Oct. 13, discussing his role in the city's Human Rights Ordinance and outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. A display of 1980s Windy ...

Gay News

Rosa Escareno named interim head of Chicago Park District 2021-10-13
- Former Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno has been named the interim general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. In an Oct. 13 statement, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ...

Gay News

President Biden appoints Debra Shore to key EPA position 2021-10-12
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today President Joe Biden appointed former LGBTQ Victory Institute board chair Debra Shore to be the next Region Five Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency — representing six states in the Midwest and ...

Gay News

WORLD Japan politics, video games, lesbian tennis player, Mr. Gay World 2021-10-10
- LGBTQ+-rights activists were hoping Japan would finally allow same-sex marriage if Taro Kono, who has publicly supported same-sex marriage, became the country's next prime minister—but their hopes were dashed. Japan's ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.