Todd Stroger was happy to open the checkbook wider for one of his aides, and cash-strapped Cook County tax payers will have to pay more.

From the Southtown Star:

Jaye Morgan Williams, the county’s chief financial officer, sent letters to all 17 county commissioners Friday, explaining why Stroger boosted her pay from $176,156 to $230,000 for this year.

In the two-page letter, Williams, appointed by Stroger in August, noted that she helped deliver the county’s 2010 budget within 90 days of her start date, finished a "woefully stalled" 2008 audit just 90 days into her tenure and was earning less than two of her fellow CFOs on the county payroll.

She said she’s also taken on extra duties despite a 60-hour work week and at one point this year asked for "compensation consideration."

"As a professional with a long career in the industry, I do not want to get caught up in the current maelstrom and only ask that I be treated fairly," she wrote in a letter to the commissioners that was obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

A defensive Stroger echoed those sentiments Friday during a radio interview, saying Williams’ salary is a "lot of money, but she actually is a chief financial officer of a $3 billion corporation."

And there’s the rub: Cook County is not a corporation. Cook County is not a business.

Are you counting the days until the November election?

I am.