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Preckwinkle says budget reckoning coming

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today made it clear all county officials will soon have to make significant budget cuts — or see their budgets cut.

Discussions between elected officials and Preckwinkle about how to cut more than $480 million will end soon, she said. Some of the biggest county offices, including the state’s attorney and sheriff, have resisted her call to cut their spending by 16 percent.

“We’re obliged to submit a balanced budget,” Preckwinkle said, adding that would be done by Feb. 1. “We hope for their help and cooperation, and we’ll submit a balanced budget whether or not we get their help and cooperation.”

Preckwinkle said she has felt the financial pain, having to slash the number of employees in her office after discovering that former board President Todd Stroger had been spending about $600,000 more in salaries than the budget called for.

Preckwinkle addressed the issue while announcing she had hired former city Comptroller Tariq Malhance, 66, as her new chief financial officer. He will be paid about $176,000 a year, which is $54,000 less than his predecessor, whose salary Stroger boosted after his Democratic primary election loss nearly a year ago.


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