Thursday, January 3, 2008

A few words from Todd Stroger

There has been a lot of negative media lately, much of it blown out of proportion.
First there was my interview with John Williams on WGN. Andre Garner, my director of media affairs thought the John Williams show would be a fair and educational media outlet for me to express my ideas.

Instead I was bombarded with one hostile caller after another. Andre Garner did not think this was fair to me. He felt the only callers being allowed on the air were rather hostile, negative and one sided. He reacted, because that's all he could think of doing at the time. It was simply a reaction to try to get a fair forum for me. I encouraged him to be upfront and honest and to get out in front on this which he did, admitting he was caller Jonathan. It was not preplanned by any means, just a reaction to a program not going in any fair direction.

Dick Devine, I have really tried to work with him, but he feels more comfortable exchanging unpleasantries about me in public. I am not surprised he will not be running for Cook County State's Attorney next term.

I was less than pleased that on my first day back at work from having surgery for prostrate cancer, he and about 150 of his prosecutors were there to greet me with a protest. He did not feel they were making enough money, and neither did they. They wanted a raise, which they got.

When you work for the County, the City or the State you don't make as much money as a lawyer as you would in the private sector, that is a fact. Dick Devine will be leaving to go into private practice where he will reap more monetary rewards. If other prosecutors feel monetary rewards are more rewarding than public service they are free to follow Dick Devine. I can only hope that those Cook County Employees who will be running for Cook County State's Attorney can focus on their current positions while doing so, because it will be a great disservice to the citizens of this county if they can not.

I stand behind Andre Garner, as you can see he has a very impressive resume. I hope the people of this county can see this was just a simple rare lapse of judgement, which resulted in a rare and unique reaction to a poor situation.

Andre F. Garner - Managing Partner
As Managing Partner of the Black Ink Group, Andre F. Garner is responsible for major project management for the public relations and marketing firm he created in 2002 with co-founder Craig D. Barnes. Additionally, Mr. Garner is charged
with business development, and client communications while taking on the bulk of the firm’s writing, strategic consulting, media relations and government relations work.

Prior to founding the Black Ink Group, Mr. Garner worked in the field of public relations, primarily in Chicago, since 1989.
His career began at the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) where he served as chief media spokesman for the agency.
In addition to managing the flood of media inquiries and interview requests coming into the CHA daily, Mr. Garner executed media strategies to highlight the groundbreaking advances in urban and public housing policy under development at the CHA.

In 1993, Mr. Garner joined the staff of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley where he served as Assistant Press Secretary under Chicago media veteran Jim Williams. In that role, Mr. Garner was responsible for managing messaging for the City’s human services departments and the public information officers serving in those departments. The job also involved speech writing and the day-to-day development of speeches, talking points and overall messaging for the Mayor and cabinet members. Frequently asked to serve as a Mayoral surrogate at public events and in settings with community groups, Mr. Garner developed an outstanding rapport with community leaders, elected officials and key influencers throughout Chicago.

The relationships developed and fostered during his time in the Mayor’s Office served Mr. Garner well during the next phase of his career. In September of 1997, Mr. Garner joined Peoples Energy Corporation as the Manager of Community Affairs. As the parent company of a well-established gas utility company, Peoples Energy was the newly developed brand created by company executives to position their business for competition in the deregulated environment. Mr. Garner helped to shape the company’s strategy for government and community relations as well as structuring their corporate contributions and other corporate responsibility efforts. In his tenure with the company, Mr. Garner was responsible for improving the company’s relationships local government agencies, successfully dismissing potentially explosive charges by a local city government and opening dialogues with key community groups.

In June of 2002, Mr. Garner was hired by Electronic Data Systems (EDS) as Senior Public Relations Consultant for the Midwest. In this role, Mr. Garner assisted the former General Motors and Ross Perot related business to expand its business in the Chicago area. After one year of successfully positioning EDS in the Chicago market and assisting with media and community relations efforts in other Midwest markets, executives at the EDS International Headquarters named Mr. Garner Midwest Public Relations Director. Responsible for all aspects of communications and public relations for the company in the company’s largest region, Mr. Garner managed staff and consultants in 13 states, including a designated staff of communicators assigned to EDS’ General Motors account, the company’s largest client.
During his tenure at EDS, Mr. Garner was the lead communicator handling media, government and communications issues related to the company’s relocation of its Midwest Headquarters from Troy, Michigan to Chicago.

In addition to his more than 16 years as a professional communicator, Mr. Garner is also active in his church community, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce. He is a former board member of the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Black Public Relations Society and the United Way of Chicago’s Volunteer Communications Council. Mr. Garner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in News-Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He and his wife Adrienne live in Chicago’s Beverly community with their son Andre Jr., 7, and daughter Ari, 4.