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Stroger wants layoffs, creative financing

Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

All those county workers who busted their kiesters for Todd Stroger in last month’s election to protect their jobs couldn’t have been happy this morning when they picked up their papers.

About 6,200 Cook County employees could lose their jobs if department heads and elected officials follow through on a directive County Board President Todd Stroger has issued to cut their budgets by 17 percent.

Stroger is expected to make the announcement Tuesday as his administration attempts to close a $500 million deficit without raising taxes, spokesman Bill Figel said.

The county employs about 26,000 people, so that’s a serious cut. But there’s also some creative financing proposed.

The Stroger administration is addressing $150 million of the deficit through “various financing strategies,” according to the letter. Figel said the administration is considering restructuring some of its debt to save money.

I expect we’ll see more of that stuff than is currently proposed and fewer layoffs when push finally comes to shove. But the fight is gonna be fun to watch.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 8:52 am:

    What are Todd Stroger’s plans for helping these workers to find new employment?

  2. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:10 am:

    I’ll believe it when it actually happens. Speaking of campaign promises not being met, is Gerald Nichols still on the public payroll?

  3. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:24 am:

    The US is currently a full-employment economy. Anybody who wants a job can get one. If the county employees are worth their salaries, they should be able to find equivalent jobs in the private sector. At lower compensation packages, of course. When taking into account salary, pension, and almost-free health care, public sector workers earn far more than their private sector counterparts. Sorry, I don’t want my taxes raised to continue that state of affairs. At the county or the state level.

    Now we will start hearing weeping and wailing about all the terrible things which will happen to Cook County citizens without their army of dedicated civil servants. I’ll take my chances.

    Will anybody actually get laid off? Remember, public employee union contracts make it hard to lay off people. And there are all those political hires…can’t fire them. Who’s left?

    Stroger wants to fix that 6200 figure in the minds of the ever-gullible Cook County electorate
    so in the future they’ll think he actually did it. He won’t. They’ll eliminate a few vacant jobs, perhaps a little early retirement program,
    then claim they’ve found the money somewhere and can keep everybody else. Then they’ll ask for a tax increase next year.

    And Cook County residents will pay up, as per usual.


  4. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:32 am:

    What good is employment if you can’t earn a living wage? It’s great that the Governor wants to raise the minimum wage, but that doesn’t help people who can’t afford housing, medicine, or food.

  5. - jerry - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:57 am:

    17% is very aggressive, but I think it shows that Toddler knows he’s under a microscope, and that he’s going to play hardball.

    The final figure will likely be around 10%, and he gave himself a good degree of wiggle room by saying 17%.

    I think Dorothy Brown, if she’s serious about challenging Daley, is going to have to come close to the 17% mark. After all, how can you run as an anti-Daley reformer if you won’t cut your own departments bloated budget?

    Though the jury is still very much out on Toddler, credit given where credit is due here.

  6. - Barracuda - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:01 am:

    Just float some bonds! It’s easy! Everybody does it! Just ask the Guv.

  7. - Guy Fawkes - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:30 am:

    See: The Illinois Tollway & I.D.O.T.

  8. - Snidely Whiplash - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:44 am:

    The department heads will cut a few unconnected, low level employees. Stroger will point to the fact that he ordered the cuts, but the department heads didn’t cooperate, to support his argument that he kept his promises. He will then follow by taking no action against the department heads. Nice little game, isn’t it?

  9. - Judgement Day Is On The Way... - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:05 pm:


    Could go down a couple of different ways. If “The Toddler” is really serious - and he might be, because that $450 to $500 mil deficit is one giant budget hole to fill, and when he sends out a 17% cut directive, then many of those cuts will be all of those patronage employees placed so laborously by Gerald and Donna and all the others.

    If the choices are left up to the outside agencies (in most places), the first to go will be those “connected” employes who got their jobs through ‘clout’, because Gerald and team got pretty heavy handed on getting those clouted employees into their positions, and there’s a whole bunch of angry (in some cases, very angry) supervisors and department heads who are sick and tired of having to put up with all of the deadwood foisted upon them by “Downtown”.

    The Feds are just lovin this whole scene. And “The Toddler” got nowhere to go with this - If “Downtown” goes to the mat to keep the “clouted” employees in place over the workers, even more insiders will start talking to the Feds. It’s already a small torrent, it could easily turn into a raging flood. Hey, he wanted the job…..

  10. - Mike Williams - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:59 pm:

    so now he will probably move to more pinstripe patronage than his old man did. I am sure his former campaign manager and his associates will be happy about that.

  11. - Bill - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:40 pm:

    Todd is off to a great start. The other county elected officials will comply with his edict and county gov’t will operate more efficiently without a decrease in county services. Promise made-promise kept.
    Nice work, Mr. President!

  12. - Snidely Whiplash - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 6:32 pm:

    Bill, was that tongue-in-cheek?

  13. - Bill - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 7:33 pm:


  14. - Tom - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:39 pm:

    It sounds great, but Stroger will need to follow through to demonstrate it’s not simply rhetoric. I’ll wait until Stroger gets results before calling it a promise kept.

  15. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:57 pm:

    Bill, Democrats really DON’T want the support of organized labor, do they? This is another example.

  16. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 11:58 am:

    Who is employing the most people in Chicago? It isn’t private business. It is government. According to Crains, the US Government, Chicago Public Schools and City of Chicago are 3 of the top 5 employers. Cook county isn’t far below either.

    This means that taxpayers and public spending keeps the largest employers open in Chicago. How can this be a healthy for long term growth? How many businesses would want to locate in a city with this much government looking to take a bite out of their profits?

    Let Toddler do the layoffs. The taxpayers will still pay for them doing the same job at another government. Chicago is in a vicious cycle.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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