Cook County Commissioner Bobbie Steele closed a 20-year career on the Cook County board Wednesday with her retirement.

Steele, a former school teacher, served as commissioner of the 2nd County District, which includes parts of the South and West sides. She was first elected to the board in 1986. Steele had been interim Cook County board president since August, chosen by commissioners to serve out John Stroger’s term after he suffered a stroke in March while running for re-election. His son, Todd, was chosen over Steele to replace John Stroger on the November ballot. Todd Stroger won and will replace Steele as Cook County board president, but will not vote on the board.

Steele’s retirement is effective today. By retiring as board president rather than as a commissioner, Steele will walk away with a $136,000 pension, double what she would have left with if she retired as a commissioner.

Steele has said that she wants her son, Robert Steele, to take her place as commissioner, but Democratic committeemen from her district will have to make that decision.

Rate freeze falls
short in Illinois House

The Illinois House failed to pass a three-year extension of a rate freeze for ComEd late Tuesday. The Democrat-controlled House fell six votes short of stopping ComEd’s planned 22 percent rate hike. Barring any last minute deals, the hike will take effect in January. Had the rate freeze passed through the House, it would have had a tough sell in the Illinois Senate, also controlled by Democrats. Senate President Emil Jones (14th District) is among the members opposed to a rate freeze, suggesting instead that ComEd’s 22-percent rate be phased in over three years. Among the no-votes in the House was State Sen. Calvin Giles (8th District).

-Terry Dean