There's already a laundry list of problems at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, but so far no one has seen the wardrobe of its leader as a problem.
That changed Wednesday when county Commissioner William Beavers delivered a public dressing-down to its director, mockingly asking Earl Dunlap, "Do you own a suit?" while lecturing Dunlap that "your appearance commands respect" and that he's "supposed to be a role model."
Dunlap, wearing a white polo shirt tucked into Dockers pants, chimed back, "I command respect by the way I conduct myself," adding that "the last person I need to be judged by is you."
"I've got bigger fish to fry ... than whether I've got my Armani suit on," Dunlap told reporters later.
Dunlap is a no-nonsense, nationally recognized juvenile center leader brought in by a federal judge to clean up a facility long hindered by patronage and allegations of abuse and filthy conditions.
Beavers, who is Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's floor leader, is a no-nonsense politician, known for his flashy suits and unapologetic support for patronage.
Some of Stroger's advisers seemed to cringe at the criticism.
They's better! I don't think anyone else has hurt the young Stroger more than this man who helped him become Cook County Board President. If it wasn't for Beavers, Stroger would largely be a very unimportant alderman. If there's one thing Stroger should know in being a member of a local political family, it should be to watch your friends and allies although I know Beavers is who he is. Sometimes loyalty can hurt you although it's certainly a good quality.
Oh and I should mention Beaver is expected at least by some local pundits to lose his commissioner's seat in 2010. Almost like his lost his Democratic Committeeman's post to his duaghter's replacement back in February. I wouldn't be surprised if he's re-elected, but strangely enough I would be if Stroger gets re-elected in 2010 as well.