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To merge or not to merge services? Emanuel and Preckwinkle ask a committee.

Rahm Emanuel and Toni Preckwinkle said Tuesday they could cut costs by possibly merging parts of their governments. The new Chicago mayor-elect and the new-ish Cook County board president stood before cameras to work in the buzz words of the day: collaboration, streamlining, coordination.

"To continue to operate in separate silos, or to provide duplicative services - that's no longer a responsible option," Preckwinkle said.

"Just because it was done like that for 30 or 40 years does not mean we can afford to keep doing it like that for the next three or four years," Emanuel said.

Possible topics for change include criminal justice (the city has police, but the county runs the jail and courts), elections (the city runs Chicago polling places, the county runs suburban ones) and healthcare.

"Both the county and the city have clinics, for example," Preckwinkle said. "And so the discussions have begun about how we can more effectively deliver service at least cost."

Preckwinkle and Emanuel picked six-people to look into these issues, though none has a professional background in healthcare. Emanuel defends the committee, saying the members - including Ald. Pat Dowell and Cook County Cmsr. John Firtchey  - have a broad range of experiences.

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