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Cook County warns of 1,500 layoffs

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

Cook County will have to lay off 1,557 people if it doesn't approve some sort of tax increase for the 2008 budget year, administration officials told county commissioners Tuesday.

"This is real. This is not a joke," said Cook County Finance Committee Chairman John Daley.

Still, several commissioners voiced optimism that, in the end, some sort of compromise between President Todd Stroger's proposed 2 percent sales tax increase and Draconian staff cuts would be reached.

In the meantime, Daley assigned various commissioners to different committees and gave them the task of cutting department budgets if county department heads continue to refuse doing so themselves.

Looking at the president's office will be Commissioners Deborah Sims, Joan Murphy and Liz Gorman. Commissioners Jerry Butler, Robert Steele, Forrest Claypool and Gregg Goslin will evaluate the Bureau of Health. Commissioners Roberto Maldonado, Pete Silvestri and Bill Beavers will examine the state's attorney's office, while Commissioners Mike Quigley, Tony Peraica and Joseph Moreno will address the sheriff's office.

The 2008 budget must be passed by Feb. 29.

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