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Preckwinkle targets overtime perk
Board president says Cook County employees' paid lunches, vacations shouldn't count toward it; other money-saving measures, security of county investments also addressed

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Chicago Tribune
by Erika Slife

Paid lunch hours and vacation time should not count toward overtime pay for Cook County employees, Board President Toni Preckwinkle said Tuesday.

Preckwinkle wants to eliminate the perk as part of a series of other money-saving proposals she rolled out at a news conference with a bipartisan group of commissioners.

"It's of critical importance that we continue to show financial leadership," said Preckwinkle, who is on the verge of having her second budget approved since she took office last December.

Preckwinkle also wants her chief financial officer and the County Board to sign off on where county money is invested before any deposits are made. Preckwinkle's initiative comes on the heels of a letter that Treasurer Maria Pappas wrote last month warning county officials of unstable financial institutions where some taxpayer money is invested.

"In these times, not all banks are on sound financial footing, and we want to ensure that county investments are protected and secured," Preckwinkle told reporters. "I think we've found that some of our deposits are in banks that are fairly shaky and that's a matter of concern."

Preckwinkle also is seeking to consolidate countywide information technology departments under her office, as well as printing, mail distribution, storage, telephone operations, recycling and other administrative functions.

"Today is the beginning of a new day in terms of bringing fundamental changes to some things that might seem obvious," said Peter Silvestri, R-Elmwood Park. "The changes that are being proposed today will bring more efficiency to the way Cook County operates, and I don't think that's a Republican or Democratic issue, I think that's an issue that the people of our districts and our county rely upon us to subscribe to."


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