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Preckwinkle Aiming to Trim County Fat

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 19, 2010 2:30PM

2010_01_22_preckwinkle.jpg While County Commissioner and Todd Stroger patron William Beavers was busy getting his big hog nuts twisted in a knot while telling County Board President-elect Toni Preckwinkle to "shut up" and get to work, Preckwinkle, who's known more for her terseness than her soliloquies, was doing just that.

Preckwinkle warned county officials that spending cuts will be coming, in order to overcome a projected revenue shortfall of $480 million. That shortfall includes the loss of revenue in the projected rollback of the county sales tax increase Stroger and the Board approved last year; a $55 million settlement reached this week related to strip searches in Cook County jail; higher debt payments and new contract costs for employees.

Preckwinkle is aiming for efficiency, telling county department heads that she's looking at consolidating departments and cutting unnecessary positions, which she estimates will save the county $150 million. Even with all that, Preckwinkle doesn't expect to have a budget in place until February, three months into her term.

There should be a lot of fat in the county budget she can trim. Maybe she can start with Beavers's appointees.