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where boys under seventeen and 'girls under eighteen are
tried and the cases of dependent children settled.

Clerks of the Courts. There is an elected clerk, each
at a salary of $9,000, for the circuit, superior, criminal,
appellate, and probate courts; the term is six years, and
they are elected in November. In the interest of econom-
ical, efficient government, these clerks ought to be appointed
by the judges of the courts they serve and the judges held
absolutely responsible for the work of their appointees.

The three appellate courts for Cook County will be de-
scribed under the judicial department of Illinois.

Juvenile Court. This is one of the State courts of
Cook County. The " right hand " of the judge is the chief
probation officer, chosen after a competitive examination
and paid $3,000 per annum. There are now (1916)
over eighty assistant probation officers, men and women,
selected in the same manner as their chief. Their work is
to watch over and befriend the delinquent and dependent
children, boys up to seventeen, girls to eighteen years of
age, committed to their charge as " wards of the court."
(Look up the meaning of " delinquent " and " dependent.")

Cook County has the honor of possessing the first
juvenile court in the world, established by act of the Gen-
eral Assembly, 1899, preceding the Denver, Colorado,
court (Judge Ben Lindsey) by six months. Circuit Judge
Richard A. Tuthill was the first " kid " or " kindergarten
judge," as his associates dubbed him, and organized this
noted court.

The juvenile court in Cook County has the additional



78 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

distinction of having the first woman assistant to the judge
in the State, Miss Mary E. Bartelme, who acts as assistant
to Judge Arnold and hears all cases of delinquent girls.
Miss Bartelme was appointed by Judge Pinckney in March,
1913. Her "legal position" is more like a master in
chancery and the judge enters all orders of the court.

The Juvenile Detention Home is a temporary home for
all children awaiting the action of the court, and is sup-
ported equally by Chicago and Cook County. A careful
physical examination is given every child on entrance (5),
and medical and dental treatment when necessary.

The home is under the charge of a woman superintend-
ent, selected through competitive examination, and there
are five teachers furnished by the board of education, two
each for the delinquent boys and girls and a kindergartner
f6r the dependent little children. In 1914 a new school
building was erected by the Chicago board of education
exclusively for the children in the Juvenile Detention Home.
The building provides a gymnasium, shower baths, court
playground, manual training and domestic-science equip-
ment, library, and all the facilities of a modern schoolhouse.
The need of such a school building was great. (6)

The probation department of the juvenile court is or-
ganized under four divisions: Field, Probation, Child-
Placing, and " Funds to Parents." The latter is popularly
called the " Mothers' Pension " division, and was difficult
to administer, because the law was loosely drawn. A new
law, carefully drawn, was later passed and has proved work-
able. The persons eligible, amount of pension, previous in-
vestigation required, are now clearly stated in the new law.
The Pension Fund is administered through a committee con-
sisting of the chief probation officer, the head of the Moth-



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 79

ers' Pension department and the County agent. This com-
mittee with the probation officers decide amount of pension
to be granted each worthy applicant. The county board ap-
propriated $185,000 in 1916 for this Parents' Pension Fund.

During November, 1915, there were 1,728 children under
fourteen years of age in the families receiving funds in
Cook County. The families numbered about five hun-
dred and forty and the average amount given per child was
$8.52 for the month. A visiting housekeeper advises these
mothers about the best way to spend this money for the
best good of the children.

The object of the law is a good one: to keep families
together and enable widowed mothers with small children
to care for them at home, instead of being obliged to put
them in a public institution. Great care in administering the
law is necessary to prevent pauperizing worthy families. (7)

Four types of children come before the Juvenile Court -
truants, defectives, dependents and delinquents. Truancy
cases must be handed over to the school authorities. How-
ever, the probation officer works with the truant officer to
save the child from a life of vagrancy or crime.

Formerly the greatest difficulty was with the defective
type. Under the new law of 1915 to provide care for the
feeble-minded, children so afflicted can be sent to a public
or private institution, or placed under a guardian with pa-
rental powers. If the judge so orders, after a commis-
sion of three, two of whom must be experienced physicians
- or one may be a psychologist, have passed on the cases,
" the children can be placed in custody of the state for
life, thus protecting communities against their depredations
and also giving the children needed care."

The Juvenile Court should be enrolled as a preventive



8o ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

agency. The probation officers are the means of settling
a large number of cases out of court by bringing parents
or guardians and children in friendly fashion before the
chief probation officer so that the boy or girl can then be
placed directly under the charge of a probation officer.
Thus a formal complaint to the court is avoided and the
child is saved from the disgrace of a trial. (8)

The county judge is elected for four years and holds
the county court. He appoints the three jury commission-
ers for Cook County; hears all cases of persons said to be
insane and assigns them to one of the State hospitals for
the insane. To assist him in this work he calls a jury of
six persons, only one of whom must be a physician. Judge
Owens three years ago summoned juries of prominent
women to hear the cases of women and girls said to be
insane. Their good work won recognition because they
were the first women jurors in Illinois. Cases of non-sup-
port and desertion also come under the jurisdiction of the
county judge. See Charity Service Cook County, p. 85.
The county judge hears cases of election frauds and is
responsible equally with the election commissioners for
carrying out the election laws. Civil suits involving sales
of property for taxes come before the county court.

Probate Court, or " Orphans' Court."

I. General Statement. This court is held by the probate
judge, elected for four years by the voters of Cook
County. Seven counties now have a separate probate
judge. The work of the probate court is to probate
(prove) wills; appoint guardians for minors with
property and for adults, incapable through insanity
or drunkenness, of managing their own property; ap-



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 81

point an administrator to carry out the terms of a
will where no executor is named in the will.

II. Procedure in Probating a Will.

a. Petition to judge for probate: will must accompany peti-

tion.

b. Citation (summons) to persons interested.

c. Hearing the proofs by judge:

1. That testator is dead.

2. That testator was of sound mind and not unduly influ-

enced when making the will.

3. That it was the last will and testament.

d. Admission to probate and letters testamentary issued by

judge to executor. Why?

e. Executor sends notice to creditors.

f. Executor has inventory of estate made.

g. All claims against estate audited. Why?

h. Division of property according to will and recording of all

transfers of real estate in county recorder's office.
Give a reason for each of these steps.
There are three general divisions in probating a will:

1. Proving the will.

2. Paying the debts.

3. Dividing the property.

III. Procedure where Person Dies Intestate, that is, where No

Will is Left.

a. Petition to judge for administrator.

b. Proof of death of person (doctor's or coroner's certificate).

c. Letters of administration issued.

d. Remaining steps same as for will except final division of

estate is according to law, which recognizes only heirs.

IV. Suggested Questions on Wills.

i. What is a will? Must it be in the handwriting of the
testator ? How can a person who can not read or write
make a will?



82 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

2. Why must there be witnesses ? How many ? Must they

know the contents of the will? Can they be remem-
bered in the will ?

3. If a witness dies before the testator, how may the will

be proved?

4. What is a codicil?

5. What is the difference between an heir and a legatee?

6. Why is it better to make a will?

7. What hinders a guardian from abusing his trust?

8. How can an animal be a legatee? An institution?

Jury Commissioners. There are three jury commis-
sioners, appointed by the judges of all the courts in Cook
County; salary not over $1,500. Old soldiers must have
preference in appointments. The jury commissioners must
keep on file a list of men eligible for grand and petit jury
duty in the county and State courts. At least 15,000 cards
containing the name, age, occupation, nationality, of men
eligible for the juries are in a large swinging box, hung in
a frame, in the jury commissioners' rooms. The names
for the cards are secured from the poll lists kept by the
election commissioners. Sixty thousand names, eligible
for petit jury duty, are kept on file all the time and a sepa-
rate list of three thousand men owning real estate, eligible
for the grand jury.

How Juries are Drawn. The clerk of any court re-
quiring a jury goes to the commissioners, and after the
violent shaking up of the box containing these cards, he
draws out as many as his "panel" (number of jurors
needed) calls for. Then venires (summons to appear as
jurors) are served on these men.

The jury commissioners have succeeded in securing bet-
ter men for jury service in Cook County and in saving time
for the judges,



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 83

CHARITY SERVICE OF COOK COUNTY

The charitable institutions of Cook County are the larg-
est in the United States, those in New York being under the
city. More than one-half of every dollar of taxes appro-
priated by the county board each year goes to support
the charity service of the county. This fact alone ought
to kindle the interest of every citizen in his or her county
government. The list of charitable institutions follows:

a. Infirmary or poor house at Oak Forest. This insti-
tution shelters 3,000 old and infirm persons. It is located
southwest of Chicago on the county farm of 355 acres in
Bremen Township. A very successful farm is run in con-
nection with this institution. The labor is provided mainly
by the inmates and the farm furnishes large quantities of
fresh vegetables in season for the Infirmary and Tuberculo-
sis hospital. A flourishing poultry yard, an orchard, vine-
yard, greenhouses and cannery prove Oak Forest is moving
toward partial self-support.

b. County hospital. The new hospital building, when
completed, will have 2,700 beds and will be the second larg-
est hospital in the world. Physicians and surgeons come
from all over United States, Canada and even South Amer-
ica to visit or study in this hospital. Medical students in
Chicago are ambitious to be admitted as internes because of
the great opportunities for study and practice.

r. Psychopathic or Detention hospital, on the west side,
i? for the temporary care of men, women, and children
chought to be insane and waiting until the county judge
and a jury pass on their mental condition. A new modern
hospital properly equipped to care for these pitiable cases
was built in 1914 at a cost below the bond issue a very



84 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

unusual fact where buildings are paid for from tax-money.
This hospital has recently established a department of
psychiatry (9) for the study and treatment of mental dis-
eases. Here can be sent cases of nervous disorders border-
ing on insanity where wise, kindly treatment may restore
the patient to normal life without the stigma resulting from
commitment to an insane asylum.

d. County agent administers the outdoor poor relief and
gives temporary relief to the poor in their homes. With
the advice and assistance of the G. A. R. posts, he distrib-
utes county aid to needy soldiers and sailors and their fami-
lies. The county is spending (in 1916) over $574,000 in
outdoor relief through the county agent's office. (10) An
earnest effort is being made to prevent misuse of this large
sum by compelling certain unworthy " political poor " to go
to work. It is estimated a hundred thousand dollars will
be saved and not a single worthy family be turned away.

e. Juvenile Detention Home for Delinquent and De-
pendent Children is described under the sections on the
Juvenile Court of which the Home is a necessary part.
Sangamon and Adams Counties also have such homes con-
nected with their juvenile courts.

f. Adult-Probation Officers* These adult-probation of-
ficers are to have oversight of "first offenders" and
young prisoners who are too old for the juvenile court yet
show desire to reform. These prisoners may be paroled
to an adult probation officer for six months or a year and,
if proved deserving, may be dismissed by the circuit judge
at the end of their parole without further punishment.
Part of the earnings of such paroled persons must go to
people dependent on them for support, and part to make

4 Act in effect, July i, 1911.



COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS 85

good any losses their crime caused. This proves their
determination to do right and their fitness for complete
freedom. The law is very carefully drawn and ought to
accomplish much good if wisely administered. It is under
the supervision of the circuit and municipal court judges.

g. Cook County maintains two large hospitals to care for
cases of tuberculosis, one connected with the County hos-
pital for cases that are counted incurable, or where the
patient is too near death to endure the long trip to the
County farm, and the larger hospital with 800 beds at Oak
Forest. This hospital is on the cottage plan and in 1915
admitted over 1,500 patients. Within two years the hos-
pital population has doubled, which proves the growth of
public confidence in the institution and in its power to cure.
The long campaign against the " white plague " is bearing
fruit. Each year more people in the incipient stages of tu-
berculosis seek the help offered by the Oak Forest Hospital.

h. Bureau of Social Service of Cook County was created
by the County board March i, 1916. It combines all the
public welfare and social service work of the county under
one director, at present a woman and a trained social worker,
who is under civil service protection as are all the twenty
employees of the bureau. The organized divisions are (i)
Non-Support, dealing with cases of deserted mothers and
children, or where because of physical disability crippled
children and aged parents are unjustly thrown on public
charity. This division collects from relatives financially
able to contribute toward the support of such cases, about
$1,000 each week of the year and thus saves the taxpayers
about three times the appropriation for all the work of the
Bureau of Social Service. (2) County Jail division. This
deals with cases of boys between 17-21, too old for the



86 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

juvenile court and held to the grand jury, often for a first
offense. Their cases are investigated and as a result, the
boy is often paroled to an adult probation officer and sent
back to work, thus being saved the degradation of weeks in
jail in contact with vicious men. (3) Psychopathic division
to investigate home conditions and family histbry of the
cases committed to the Psychopathic hospital. Such inves-
tigation is very necessary before a case can be successfully
treated by the hospital staff. (4) Oak Forest division to
look into the cases of children sent to the Infirmary and
Tuberculosis hospital. In the past, large numbers of crip-
pled and feeble-minded children were sent to the Infirmary
which is not supposed to keep them. The state has now
made more suitable provision for their care and it is the
duty of this division of the County Bureau of Social Service
to see that the state law is carried out and that such children
are committed to proper institutions. (5) Tuberculosis
Survey of Townships in Cook County outside Chicago.
Within that city, the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium
and the health department are responsible for such survey.
The county survey is part of Cook County's preventive cam-
paign against this wide-spread disease. (6) Investigation
of releases from the Lincoln State School The title of
this division explains its work. Before a feeble-minded
child or adult is released from state custody, careful investi-
gation is needed to determine whether the person set at
large is capable of self -direction and will not be a menace
to any community receiving such person. (7) Marriage
and divorce statistics from which officials can obtain valu-
able information on which to base future legislation.



THE VOTERS OF

COOK COUNTY



Ex-Officio I
Town Collector!

10,500




Elective Officials
CL. President Included



I I Insti-tu-tions or Appointive Officials

b. Elected by their respective Townships



Prepared by Chicago Bureau of Public Efficiency, 1913



Chart of organization of the government of Cook County, Illinois,
showing lines of authority and- salary rates for elective officials.



i j I j j i i CHAPTER V

THE PUBLIC POCKETBOOK: HOW IT IS FILLED *

! ! j! | 1 : i .

REFERENCES $ i

1. Revenue Law, Revised Statutes, ch. 120; consult index at be-

ginning chapter.

2. Report Special Tax Commission: J. A. Fairlie, 1910.

3. Greene : Government of Illinois, ch. ix.

4. Garner : Government in United States; Supplement, pp. 28-32.

5. A Tax-Payer's Calendar: County Clerk of Cook County,

Chicago. i : \

General Statement. The main source of Illinois' rev-
enue is the general property tax, levied on real and per-
sonal property. The most striking feature of this tax is
the legal recognition in the revenue act of the State of the
undervaluation of real and personal property for assess-
ment. Since 1909 the " taxable value " has been one-
third of the " fair cash value."

Corporations. Corporations in Illinois are subject to
taxation in the same manner as individuals; but railroad
and telegraph property is assessed by the State Board of
Equalization. Each county, however, is allowed an assess-
ment for the miles of track lying within it. The same is
true for the telegraph companies on their mileage of poles
and wires in each county.

1 Much of this material is given through the courtesy of Mr. Charles
Krutckoff, head clerk under the Cook County board of assessors.



THE PUBLIC POCKETBOOK 89

Sources of Illinois' Revenue. The income of the
State of Illinois is derived from:

A. General tax on property of individuals and corporations.

B. Seven per cent, on gross income of the Illinois Central Rail-

road. By the act of 1851, on all its charter lines in the
State, the Illinois Central is to pay annually to the State,
7 per cent, on the gross receipts of the corporation. This
payment is in lieu of any other tax on valuable lands given
the railroads by the State, and is supposed to be a perpet-
ual agreement. Illinois receives over $1,200,000 annually
from this source.

C. Tax on gross premiums of all life insurance companies.

D. Inheritance tax on all property probated in the State. This

is easy to collect because the value of the property is a
matter of record in the probate court. The tax is a grad-
uated one ; widows and children pay less than more distant
relatives.

E. Certain fees and miscellaneous items, as fines. Towns and

road districts may levy a cash poll tax of from one to two
dollars for road purposes only. Illinois has never had any
general poll tax as many other States have. (Session
Laws, 1913.)

Property Exempt from Taxation. The State of Illi-
nois is liberal in kinds of property exempt from general
taxation. Such property, however, must pay its share of
any special assessments levied. The classes of property
exempt are:

A. All public school lands and buildings.

B. Other educational institutions of all kinds; e. g., the Art Insti-

tute in Chicago, Northwestern University at Evanston.

C. Churches; parsonages if owned by the church.

D. All government property.

E. Public libraries: e. g., Newberry and John Crerar in Chicago,

as well as the city-owned public library.

F. Cemeteries.



90 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS
Terms Defined. (To be carefully learned.)

A. Real property : lands and buildings.

B. Personal property : movable and " intangible " prop-

erty; e. g., cattle, threshing machines, furniture, auto-
mobiles, sewing machines, watches, stocks, and bonds,
etc.

C. Personal property schedule : a list of the kinds of per-

sonal property for purposes of taxation.

D. Assessment of property : putting a value on property

for purposes of taxation. Assessed value is one-third
the market value.

E. " Levying a tax " : saying how much money must be

raised in a certain locality to run the government.

F. " Computing the rate " : finding how much must be paid

on every hundred dollars of assessed value of the prop-
erty.

G. " Extending the taxes " : multiplying the assessed value

of the property by the rate of taxation and entering
same in tax-collector's book.

H. Special assessments are taxes levied for some special
purpose, as paving a street, laying a sewer or water
main, and are only paid by the property benefited by
the improvement. These taxes frequently form the
heaviest ones against city real estate. They are usually
paid to a special officer called city collector, and are
never included in the general property taxes.

Assessment of Property in Cook County. (General
features are the same for all other counties in Illinois.)

A. Personal Property.

i. Cook County has an elected board of five assessors
term six years to have entire charge of the assess-



THE PUBLIC POCKETBOOK 91

ment of real and personal property in the county. In
counties under township organization, outside of
Cook, the elected town assessors make the original as-
sessment subject to review by the county treasurer.
In the seventeen non-township counties, the county
treasurer is ex-officio assessor and may appoint deputy
assessors.

2. The personal property schedules may be sent by mail,

or delivered by a deputy assessor. In Chicago they are
always delivered by the deputy assessors. These depu-
ties are appointed by the board, or elected by the legal
voters of the township: they are appointed in Chicago
and in Ridgeville Township (Evanston), but elected in
the remaining twenty-nine townships in the county.

3. Owner of property must fill out schedule by putting

down fair cash value of his personal property. Sched-
ules must be returned to the assessor by mail or in
person. In either case they must be sworn to before
a notary. After delivery of schedules from five to
fifteen days are allowed before adding the legal fifty
per cent, to the deputy assessor's estimate of the value
of the property. This is only done where the owner
neglects, or refuses, to fill out his personal property
schedule.

Personal property schedules returned are accepted
by the board of assessors. In the busy months of
March and April there are from 250 to 300 men under
the head clerk of the board of assessors, in the work-
room and outside. Need of a thoroughly trained, ef-
ficient force of men for all this work is very apparent.

From the field book a careful copy is made of all
values on to cards called " slips."

4. All the items and values given on the personal property

schedules are absolutely copied on to the Personal Prop-
erty Tax Warrant. The thirty-eight separate columns
on this Personal Property Tax Warrant are added to
find total value of all the personal property in the
county.



92 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

5. After this tax warrant is completed, the board of asses-
sors sign sworn affidavit as to its authenticity and this
statement is attached to the warrant. An alphabetical
list of every personal property tax-payer in a district,
with full cash value of his movable, or personal, prop-


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Online LibraryMary Louise ChildsActual government in Illinois → online text (page 6 of 16)