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2007 Budget Statement - February 23, 2007

Omnibus Cook County 2007 Budget Amendment-2-23-07

Last night the Cook County Board defeated a budget amendment that I sponsored with six other Commissioners to reduce the proposed severe cuts to health care and public safety. Our amendment would have saved vital services in the hospital and clinic system and restored services and workers to the States Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Probation, Human Rights and other essential services. The key to our amendment was cutting middle management jobs that do not provide direct service to our citizens. Our amendment would have restored frontline service providers who work so hard for the citizens of Cook County – it is a tragedy that this did not happen!

Unfortunately, the majority of the Board – 10 Commissioners voted for President Stroger’s budget amendment that cut deeply into the services the County provides. This amendment is not a well drafted plan for running Cook County.
I am convinced that the Stroger amendment cuts will lead to law suits that will cause the County to pay more than the cut services would have cost. Over 500 County employees, a disproportional number of frontline service providers, will lose their jobs. This is a sad day for Cook County. I am grateful to the many Cook County workers and their representatives that worked with us to craft our alternative amendment. I am especially thankful for the many who came to the final vote to support our alternative.

I want to thank all who wrote or called me to offer help on how to deal with the problems of this budget. I will continue to advocate for quality services for all of Cook County and to look for other ways to modify this budget.

I want to thank those Commissioners who fought with me from the beginning and were there at the end working to protect the health and safety of Cook County. All Cook County owes Commissioners Tim Schneider, Joan Murphy, Roberto Maldonado, Tony Peraica, Forrest Claypool and Earlean Collins a thank you for their efforts to protect our rights and services.

Finally, after we failed to get our main amendment passed, I was able to amend the final budget to restore the jobs of 5 Public Defenders who defend those charged with the most serious crimes, restore additional Public Defender jobs, improve the efficiency of the County Clerk’s Office, modify some of the severe cuts to parts of the States Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office and restore some health services to the Cook County Jail. After passing these improvements and to protect these improvements from a Stroger veto, I reluctantly voted for the final package.

Please contact me if you have any other questions.

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