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Beavers, Collins Say No to Furlough Days

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 21, 2011 6:10PM

William Beavers
The theme of "shared sacrifice" running through city and county governments hasn't resonated with a few. Case in point: County Commissioners Earlean Collins and William Beavers are refusing to accept the ten furlough days they agreed to when the County Board passed the 2011 budget.

This isn't unexpected from Beavers, who's citing the Illinois Constitution's stating elected officials can't have their salaries boosted or cut in his reversal. But Beavers could just as well be flaunting his big hog nuts in defiance of County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Collins explained her reversal to the Sun-Times.

Collins, a Democrat who represents the west side and western suburbs, said her office sacrificed a lot when commissioners OKed another budget measure this year that gave each commissioners equal district office budgets of $360,000, which covers commissioners and staff pay and other expenses; in 2010, Collins had the second highest district office budget at $421,489.

For one Collins staffer, that meant a $15,000 pay cut before the 10 days without pay, she said.

“When this body goes on vacation, my staff and I hit the streets,” Collins said during Tuesday’s meeting. “Every single Saturday and Sunday we are out there with the people because that’s where they are,” she said.

“It’s unfair where they can get no overtime — to ask them to take $15,000, $10,000, $5,000 cuts and take 10 more days out of their pay. That is not equitable, and I will not sit by and take my cut because I know this board nor the president can cut my salary,” said Collins, who like other commissioners earn $85,000 annually.

In February, Collins said she could "absolutely" accept the furlough days.

Preckwinkle said she isn't asking the county commissioners to do anything she wouldn't do herself.