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Stroger wants county budgets slashed

Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by ABDON M. PALLASCH Staff Reporter

Cook County officials who have complained for months about the 10 percent budget cuts they were being asked to swallow are facing an even bigger bite now.

County Board President Todd Stroger is asking the county's elected officials -- Sheriff Tom Dart, State's Attorney Dick Devine, Clerk of the Court Dorothy Brown, and others -- to cut 17 percent of their budgets to help plug a $500 million shortfall.

In a news release, Stroger said he realized this would likely mean a layoff of 6,200 county employees. But he said he has little choice. And he said he expects those officials to have their trimmed-down budgets on his desk by Friday.

Former Sheriff Michael Sheahan traditionally responded to requests to cut his budget with threats of laying off guards at Cook County Jail instead of trimming or eliminating the sheriff's police force, which patrols the ever-dwindling unincorporated part of the county.

3 prosecutors per courtroom

County commissioners have in past years suggested the state's attorney's office needs fewer than three prosecutors per courtroom, but Devine is seeking raises for his prosecutors who he says earn less than the public defenders they face in court.



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