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95 county workers get to keep their jobs — for now

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

Ninety-five county employees got at least a temporary reprieve Monday as the Cook County Board failed to act on a proposal to replace them with a private contractor.
The county’s labor subcommittee did not act on a recommendation to lay off the workers, who are janitors at Oak Forest Hospital, and replace them with a private contractor.
President Todd Stroger had castigated commissioners last week to approve the measure as they had originally done in the budget ordinance in February, or face a $1.5 million deficit at the hospital.
But several commissioners voiced doubt about the stated savings of the plan and balked at laying off those employees.
Joan Murphy, chairwoman of the subcommittee, said she is working on a plan that would save as much money — $1.5 million annually — but only cut about 35 employees and not privatize the job.
But commissioners Monday did give an initial go-ahead to privatizing a much larger function at Oak Forest Hospital. The finance committee OK’d privatizing long-term patient care at the hospital by shipping them to two nursing homes run by a company called New York Boys owned by Moishe Gubin and Michael Blisko.
Dr. Robert Simon, chief of the county’s Bureau of Health, estimated the move will save about $10.1 million annually.
While the county has already begun moving out some patients who have agreed to leave voluntarily, it still needs approval from a state board before it can completely shut down the hospital’s long-term care operations.


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