Monday, October 21, 2013

Cap Sauers Holdings and yes, a great Cook County public servant

While it seems that every top bureaucrat in the history of Cook County, Illinois is a dope, crook, or a mope, there have been some shining exceptions. One of them was a professional naturalist who headed the Forest Preserve District of Cook County for decades--Charles "Cap" Sauer, who died in 1970.

The FPD has always been a dumping ground for the most unemployable ward-healers of Chicago Democratic Machine. Sauers knew that, as Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko pointed out in 1987. But Sauers envisioned a larger and better Forest Preserve District for what was then America's most populous county.

So it's fitting that the most isolated section of Cook County is in Palos Township--and it's named the Cap Sauers Holdings Nature Preserve. When I was a runner on the Carl Sandburg track and cross country teams, we often ran through it on the Sag Valley Trail.

Cap Sauers Holding and the Sag Valley Trail
Years later, whether I am driving or running through a forest preserve, I enjoy the achievements of Sauers' career.

Sauers had a King Solomon-type wisdom when dealing with the political bosses.

Back to Royko:
As he told me: "I always let . . . them . . . know what I expect."

By "them," which was uttered with a certain distaste, he meant the political bosses and some of the people they sent to him for jobs.

With a slight smile, he said: "They know that if they are going to receive a day's pay, they must give me at least a half a day's work."

A half a day's work for a full day's pay might not seem like a good deal to the taxpayers or those running a business in the private sector. But in a city with a political tradition of ghost payrollers, it wasn't a bad compromise.
No, it wasn't.

Thank you, Cap Sauers.

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