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County Budget Axe Spares Jobs at Health Bureau

Friday, February 27, 2009
Chicago Public Radio
by Gabriel Spitzer

Cook County health officials say they can absorb the latest budget cuts without trimming more jobs or services. But one heavy-hitter in county government says he’s not so sure.

Cook County commissioners took a $14 million chunk out of the health bureau’s budget last week. Now it’s up to the health system’s new independent oversight board to wield the axe. They say they won’t have to lay off more workers. Interim CEO David Small says instead, they’ll wring more out of what they have.

SMALL: We’re just going to continue the acceleration of some of the improvements to operations that we have planned.

Small says they’ll scale back consulting services and supplies. That’s a red flag for Commissioner Jerry Butler, who voted against the county budget because of the health bureau cuts.

BUTLER: I’m not sure what kind of supplies they’re talking about. And I think they said supplies so that nobody could kind of pin it down.

The $14 million cut comes on top of earlier reductions at the Health bureau, which eliminated 500 positions.


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