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County prosecutors’ pay raise OK’d
Battle begins over ’08 take increase

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman

The Cook County Board today approved a pay raise for prosecutors, but several commissioners made it clear they oppose a tax increase for the 2008 budget.
“I will not support a tax increase,” said Commissioner Tim Schneider (R-Bartlett). “This county needs to go on a diet.”
Board President Todd Stroger today again tried to tie the wage increase for prosecutors with the need for more taxes in 2008.
To give all county employees a promised 4.75 percent pay raise next year would cost $113 million, Stroger said.
“There’s no way you can talk about that without talking about a tax increase,” Stroger said. “There’s no way you can raise fees enough to close that gap.
“There’s not going to be a way to cut enough without seriously damaging the government.”
The deal approved today  ends a contentious several weeks between Stroger and State’s Attorney Dick Devine. Devine’s staff had made vague threats about walkouts or mass resignations if prosecutors were not given raises to match public defenders.
Prosecutors got an 8 percent raise retroactive to 2004, while other non-union county workers got a 3 percent raise retroactive to the start of this year.
Commissioner Deb Sims complained county workers were being unfairly portrayed as overpaid.
“I wish everybody could get the raise they’re entitled to,” said Sims (D-Chicago). “My staff hasn’t had a raise in, I believe, six years. Some people in this county work hard.”
County budget records show Sims’ three staff members earn between $50,016 and $83,323, and saw their salaries increase between 11.5 percent and 31 percent between 2002 and 2007.


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