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Suffredin Statement: COLA Agreement

Suffredin Statement on COLA Agreement
July 30, 2007

This is the best the County could do to gain a fair and just wage for 6,221 non-union Cook County workers.

These hard working employees work everywhere in the County - from the Courts and other public safety jobs through administration of assessments, issuing of marriage licenses, collecting taxes, recording of deeds and the providing of quality health care.

As County officials we knew that it would take $46 million to give all non-union workers COLA's back to December 1, 2004 and we had identified $47 million that could be used for this purpose. But we had to also work at stabilizing both the 2007 and 2008 budgets. Therefore, we agreed to use $21 million from a bankruptcy settlement to cover this pay adjustment with full and partial COLA's and agreed to use the remaining $26 million to help balance both the 2007 and 2008 budgets. We know that there is still is work to be done to provide full COLA's for all.

In addition on tomorrow's agenda we have two items that will further help stabilize our 2007 and 2008 budgets and strengthen our ability to provide fair and just pay to all in the future. First a measure championed by Commissioner Collins and Co-Sponsored by me to stop further payments to the Special Prosecutors in the Burge case after July 10, 2007. Second a resolution sponsored by me to require all Court related offices to develop plans to increase revenue from the various programs they run. These cost savings and enhanced revenues will help the County's financial picture and give us resources to plan for the future.

We also need continued and increased support from our partners in government - the Federal and State governments - if we are to continue to provide quality services to all who need it, especially the indigent, in the areas of Public Safety and Public Health.

I want to thank President Todd Stroger and his staff Lance Tyson, Donna Dunnings, Joseph Fratto and Jarese Wilson for their efforts and good faith in negotiating this agreement. All this would not have happened if they did not meet with Commissioners John Daley, Mike Quigley and me often over the last two weeks.

Finally, I know that there are still County employees, especially the Public Defender Supervisors, who under this deal are not getting the pay deal they deserve. I pledge to correct this in future budget negotiations. The struggle for fair and just wages for dedicated union and non-union employees is always ongoing.

View statement.
View Resolution on COLA Transfer.

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