The Cook County Board of Commissioners last week hired a new chief executive officer to oversee the system’s massive and financially troubled public health bureau.

The Cook County Health and Hospitals Board, a newly formed, independent board that oversees the health system, hired William Foley, a former CEO of Provena Health, as the system’s new top executive. He will be paid $550,000 in his new position.

Prior to working at Provena, a six-hospital Catholic system, Foley worked for a hospital turnaround group and was hired to staunch losses at a California hospital.

The health system accounts for nearly a third of Cook County’s $3 billion annual budget and has been plagued for years with deepening deficits and accusations of being a breeding ground for patronage jobs. Last year county President Todd Stroger agreed to allow an independent board to take over the system’s finances and management.

“I think they have found a good man,” Stroger told local media last week after Foley’s appointment.

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