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County hospital staff: Co-workers are slackers

Friday, November 10, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter

Many Cook County government employees say their colleagues are slackers.
A survey of thousands of county hospital employees shows almost 60 percent of them believe most co-workers don't put in a full day's work.
And those slackers are so poorly supervised, outside consultants often need to be hired to help out, costing taxpayers even more money.
Report calls for many layoffs
"That's very troublesome," County Board President Bobbie Steele said Thursday in reviewing the surveys.
She released the results as part of a transition report now available on the county Web site. It was produced by a panel of outsiders who were given access to dig into all that is wrong with county operations.
An executive summary of the report calls for thousands of jobs to be cut, and it says that can't be done only through retirements and job freezes -- layoffs are a must.
And incoming Board President Todd Stroger must move quickly to make cuts or the county will veer toward "bankruptcy." With a two-year budget deficit more than $500 million, "there is no more time for analysis," the report says.
It calls for eliminating or reducing sheriff's patrols in unincorporated Cook County, closing the sheriff's boot camp and shifting those job positions to the understaffed County Jail. Though a judge has ordered the boot camp open, Steele said the sheriff must cut somewhere to balance the budget.
Sheriff's spokesman Bill Cunningham said his agency agrees cuts must come, but with no law enforcement officials on the transition team, the report is "a little shortsighted."
The document also says the county has been too kind with union contracts and employee insurance contributions.
The transition team was led by state Sen. Rickey Hendon and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and managed by Steele's daughter, Valerie Holden. All volunteered, Steele said, so no tax money was spent on it.
Steele, who commissioned the report, leaves office in four weeks. Stroger is expected to consider some of the report's recommendations.


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