Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Public defender meets budget cuts. Layoffs could be required, official says

Thursday, December 28, 2006
Chicago Tribune
by Mickey Ciokajlo

Tribune staff reporter Carlos Sadovi contributed to this report
 
Cook County Public Defender Edwin Burnette said Wednesday that his office has complied with County Board President Todd Stroger's directive to cut its budget by 17 percent, a move that could result in the layoffs of up to 50 assistant public defenders.
 
Burnette's announcement presented a significant shift in position from a week ago when a spokesman said the office would have to let go of about 200 workers and pull lawyers from misdemeanor courtrooms if Stroger forced a budget cut of more than $9 million.
 
 Calling his initial budget proposal "unimaginative," Burnette said he was able to reach the budget target with fewer possible layoffs by incorporating other ideas, such as furloughs, four-day work weeks, and by harnessing private lawyers to do more pro bono work representing the office's clients.
 
Burnette said he would continue to fine-tune his budget proposal in the hopes of minimizing layoffs, which could also include 25 non-lawyers.
 
"The president has tasked us with being creative and more imaginative but practical in terms of the ways that we meet our budget target," said Burnette, who was appointed by Stroger's father, former board President John Stroger. "And we're doing that ... with a view toward not having to lay off. Now if efficiencies dictate that we lay off in some areas, that's fine."
 
The Stroger administration worked closely with Burnette in recent days on his new budget proposal. A spokesman pointed to the office as an example other department heads and elected officials could follow as they look to cut their own spending plans for 2007.
 
Stroger last week announced that he had called for a 17 percent cut throughout the county to close a projected deficit of $500 million without raising taxes. Elected officials from the sheriff to the state's attorney to the county assessor promptly said such deep cuts would cause severe service disruptions, and some officials criticized Stroger for issuing the mandate without first negotiating with them.
 
On Tuesday, Stroger responded in a statement saying the elected officials were refusing to cooperate with the budget process.
 
A meeting scheduled for Wednesday between Stroger and State's Atty. Richard Devine was canceled because Stroger was ill, spokesman Steve Mayberry said. That meeting, and others with elected officials, will be rescheduled.
 
Adrienne Mebane, Devine's chief of staff, said they looked forward to meeting with Stroger and his budget team. She said Devine is "willing to negotiate" over his budget, but she added that he would prefer not to cut staff.
 
In the public defender's office, Burnette said he and his staff were able to cut an additional $3.8 million from their initial proposal by preparing for a number of cost-cutting measures. Those include a mandatory 10-day furlough for all employees in the office, a four-day work week for some, and asking all law firms that do business with the county to represent clients pro bono, or without charge.
 
Burnette said the plan includes reducing 25 non-lawyer positions in the budget and potentially laying off no more than 50 lawyers. The office would also consolidate payroll and other functions with other county agencies and eliminate automatic cost-of-living increases for non-union workers.
 
Bob Galhotra, vice president of the union representing assistant public defenders, said the plan represented a breach of faith, noting members ratified a new contract earlier this year.
 
"The public defender's office has been trim for some time and according to Ed Burnette is getting trimmer," Galhotra said. "But not without a good fight."
 
Martha Fitzsimmons, a 20-year assistant public defender, said the prospect of layoffs has created anxiety in the office.
 
"Not all of those issues can be solved on the backs of the workers," Fitzsimmons said. "$500 million cannot be gotten out of the blood of the Cook County workers. It's just not there."


Recent Headlines

Woman, 19, arrested after escaping police custody at Cook County courthouse
Sunday, December 09, 2018
WLS ABC Chicago 7

Here's an exciting prospect: A boring assessor's office
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Sheriff starts unique inmate program to combat Chicago's gun epidemic
Thursday, December 06, 2018
RTV 6 Indianapolis

Staff feud at tax appeals board turns nasty
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Tax Bills Posted Online Three Months Early
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
CBS Chicago

County Board makes it easier to choose Preckwinkle successor
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

New Cook County assessor vows end to favoritism as he takes office
Monday, December 03, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

New Cook County Board members sworn in Monday
Monday, December 03, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County referendums: 'Yes' to everything
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Chicago City Wire

Glenview to discuss Cook County minimum wage, paid sick leave ordinances in December
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wilmette reverses course, fully adopts both county minimum wage and sick time rules
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What Pritzker's minimum wage increase plan could mean for the suburbs
Monday, November 26, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County sheriff’s vehicle struck during ISP pursuit on I-294
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County 'Tails' program offers redemption for inmates, dogs
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County correctional officer owns bar where security guard Jemel Roberson shot by cop, officials say
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

More than 2 months after sisters were killed in crash with Cook County sheriff's officer, family still waits for answers
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Jail guard’s retaliation suit can proceed
Monday, November 19, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Northbrook will revisit Cook County minimum wage ordinance in May
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin: County to seek 'safeguards' for golf course road
Friday, November 16, 2018
Evanston NOW

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP