Cook County Board still debating furlough days

November 1, 2011

City Desk

Cook County commissioners continue to debate the issue of a 2011 budget measure that requires them to take furlough days by the end of the year.

As part of  last year's deal, county commissioners were required to take 10 furloughs to help close a $487 million deficit. The president's office projected the furlough days would cut 4.8 percent of their budget. But earlier this year, five commissioners refused to take those unpaid days, even though both voted in favor of the budget measure, though some eventually conceeded.

At a County Board meeting on Tuesday, Commissioner William Beavers accused Board President Toni Preckwinkle of playing favorites in the debate.

"As soon as I decided not to take it, then there was something wrong with it. Then when you went to lookin', you found out I wasn't the only one," Beavers said. "Some of your friends, some of your pets didn't take it, so you had to clean it up. Alright?"

"Are you suggesting the teacher has pets?" said Preckwinkle.

"Yeah," said Beavers. "That's exactly right."

Preckwinkle says she wants to get away from furlough days in next year's budget. The board currently faces a $315 million shortfall.