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'A real violation of the public's trust'
Not all commissioners cut their budgets as required

Monday, October 01, 2007
Special to suffredin.org
by STEVE PATTERSON

The mandate to Cook County officials last year was clear:
Cut 17 percent from your budgets, or the County Board will do it for you.
But records show not all County Board members followed that edict themselves.
DID THEY MAKE THE CUT? 2006 2007 %
WHO OFFICE BUDGET OFFICE BUDGET DECREASE
Earlean Collins $354,130 $348,519 1.5%
Robert Steele $361,146 $304,648 15%
Jerry Butler $377,417 $307,424 18.5%
William Beavers* $394,891 $334,795 15%
Deborah Sims $384,643 $331,588 14%
Joan Murphy $367,215 $314,693 14%
Joseph M. Moreno $357,539 $304,509 15%
Roberto Maldonado $376,246 $310,955 17%
Peter Silvestri $389,180 $331,660 15%
Mike Quigley $373,575 $309,459 17%
John Daley** $587,288 $466,557 20%
Forrest Claypool $364,107 $301,026 17%
Larry Suffredin $356,490 $299,506 16%
Gregg Goslin $386,002 $320,383 17%
Tim Schneider $376,921 $312,844 17%
Tony Peraica $363,941 $310,678 15%
Liz Gorman $356,787 $309,571 13%
President's office $3,067,135 $2,542,504 17%
* 2006 figure includes an $85,000 salary that was not taken by then-Commissioner John Stroger, as he had a president's salary.
** As finance chairman, Daley controls a district budget and finance budget. SOURCE: Cook County government
While most made sacrifices by cutting thousands of dollars from their office budgets, laying off employees or taking furlough days, Commissioner Earlean Collins hardly cut anything at all from her budget.
"No, I didn't cut 17 percent," she said. "I had my reasons. But I'm not getting into that with you."
Collins recently said it's necessary for her to retain her own attorney, providing legal advice, because she doesn't always trust advice from the state's attorney, who is the board's attorney.
Tensions have been building on the board in recent weeks, leading toward a possible vote today on a sales tax hike.
That has plenty of dirty laundry being aired, as it was disclosed at a recent board meeting that not all commissioners had made equal sacrifices in the last budget.
'We had to face that pain'
"Shame on you, whoever you are," said Commissioner Joan Murphy, who has bemoaned the 52 unpaid days she and her staff have taken.
Other elected officials who saw their budgets hammered last year declined comment.
They aren't yet being asked to cut at all this year and must come before the board for 2008 funds in a few weeks.
"The bottom line is, if we as a board don't sacrifice to set the example, that's a real violation of the public's trust," said Commissioner Mike Quigley, who laid off a staffer to meet the mandate. "We had to face that pain, and I'd expect the same out of all of my colleagues."


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