CHICAGO - The Cook County, Ill., Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved underwriting and bond counsel firms for nearly $250 million of proposed general obligation bond issuance.

Woods Bowman, the county's chief financial officer, said the board approved the firms that he had recommended when he proposed the bond issues last month.

He added that the board will be asked for its final approval of the bond issues at a special meeting early next month.

The board named Kemper Securities Inc., as senior manager for approximately $209 million of GOs. Eleven other firms were named as co-managers.

The $209 million of bonds would mark the second phase of the county's four-year $958 million debt plan for capital projects.

In April, the county sold the first phase of about $200 million of GO bonds for building and improving correctional facilities. The second issue would be used to continue those projects as well as others related to the county's health-care services.

About $65 million of the proceeds will also be used to retire five-year tender notes issued by the county in the late 1980s and early 1990s for capital projects, according to Mr. Bowman.

The issue may also include the refunding of an undetermined amount of bonds issued in the 1980s, he said.

The board approved Katten Muchin & Zavis and Pugh & Jones as bond counsel.

Bear, Stearns & Co. was named senior manager for an approximately $40 million GO bond issue for the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Four other firms were approved as co-managers. Bond counsel for the deal are Schiff Hardin & Waite and Tim Wright.

Mr. Bowman said the board deferred a decision on approving an underwriting team headed by George K. Baum & Associates for the restructuring of $10 million to $35 million of outstanding single-family mortgage revenue bonds the county issued from 1982 to 1985. He said the delay was needed to give board members more information on the mechanics of the restructuring.

If approved by the board, the county's GO issue may be priced late next month, while the forest preserve issue may be sold early in September, according to Phillip Peloquin, executive vice president of Public Sector Group, the county's financial adviser.

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