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Prosecutors laid off as budget battle continues
Stroger threatens to veto commissioners’ alternate budget proposal as is

Saturday, February 17, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

As Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine began notifying staff members of layoffs Friday, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger announced he will veto commissioners’ alternative budget proposal if it passes as is.
Stroger, who has proposed closing health care clinics and cutting 100 sheriff’s police officers to avoid raising taxes, is at odds with commissioners, who suggest keeping the clinics and front-line workers and instead cutting middle- and upper-management.
Stroger told WBBM-AM’s “At Issue” program that he would veto the commissioners’ proposal in its current form, primarily because it ignores the long-term structural changes the Bureau of Health is trying to make under the leadership of Dr. Robert Simon.
At the same time, though, Stroger was meeting all day with commissioners, trying to hammer out a compromise, several commissioners reported.
Because talks still were ongoing, the budget amendment books — consisting of proposed amendments to Stroger’s proposed budget — were not released as scheduled Friday. They will be available Tuesday, said staffers in the office of John Daley, chairman of the county’s finance committee.
But even if the commissioners’ version of the budget passes, it still calls for cutbacks. Toward that end, Devine began the process of laying off 42 prosecutors and 10 investigators. The layoffs become effective March 2.
“And next week approximately 46 administrative people will be added to the list,” Devine said.
Although the commissioners’ version of the budget does go a long way toward addressing prosecutors’ complaints that they aren’t paid the same as public defenders, it does not provide a cost-of-living increase.
Forgoing that cost-of-living increase “is going to lead a number of our veteran pros to leave the office,” Devine said.


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