Budget cuts have prompted Cook County layoffs in 2018, seeing over 300 people lose their job at the beginning of the year.
The cuts pulled workers from across the county government. The Sheriff’s Office, for instance, saw 77 people cut from its department as part of the Cook County layoffs that ended up claiming a total of 328 positions. The cuts at the sheriff department included deputies and high-ranking members of the department.
Another three people were cut from the Cook County Board President’s Office as part of the greater Cook County layoffs. The three people were cut following their refusal of other positions.
Another five drug and alcohol counselors working at Stroger Hospital lost their jobs following the budget cuts.
One of the places hardest hit by the Cook County layoffs was the Cook County Courts. Over 100 employees were cut from the courts, but a temporary court order has put those layoffs on hold.
The Cook County layoffs followed a $5.2-billion budget that was approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. The budget called for the elimination of 321 people and 1,017 vacant positions in order to rebound from the $200.0 million lost in revenue following the repeal of the sweetened beverage tax.
The battle over the tax has seen many Illinois layoffs as the area has gone back and forth as to whether the tax would be implemented or not—with serious implications on the budget and revenue for the county going forward.
A spokesperson for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released a statement on Friday:
“When the Board unanimously approved the 2018 budget, it required more than $200 million in spending cuts to make up for repealed revenue and to meet the County’s obligation of balancing its budget annually. Because approximately 80 percent of the County’s spending is related to personnel costs, losing revenue and balancing the budget unfortunately meant that some County employees would be subject to layoffs this fiscal year.”
“328 Cook County employees laid off due to budget cuts, officials say,” ABC 7, January 5, 2018.