County Workers Must Sacrifice
Acknowledging she used a lot of one-time funding sources to balance her first budget, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says that a spending overhaul in the coming years will require sacrifice from the roughly 23,000 employees on the county’s payroll.
While refinancing debt, drawing on tax-increment-funding dollars, even handing 10 unpaid days off to most county employees helped plug a $487 million hole in this year’s $3.1 billion county spending plan, Preckwinkle said long-term solutions will likely mean county employees will have to pick up a larger share of health-care costs and pay more for pension benefits.
“We pay about 4 percent of our health-care costs. I think that over the long term, that’s just not sustainable. We have to step up as employees and pay a greater proportion of our health care,” Preckwinkle told reporters Wednesday...
Voters swept Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez out of office by a stunning margin Tuesday, capping a dramatic collapse for a politician who was given increased authority by voters four years ago to clean up much-maligned county government but was ushered out in the largest recall of a local politician in U.S. history.
The spectacular fall from power comes after two years of missteps, ranging from granting top staffers big pay hikes to construction of a publicly funded stadium for the Florida Marlins to implementation of a property-tax rate increase that outraged an electorate struggling through an ugly recession.
Alvarez tried to fend off ouster by twice filing suit to block a recall vote. After the lawsuits went nowhere, he defended his record in speeches, radio and television appearances and paid advertisements, arguing that he made the tough calls to preserve vital services for residents.
But voters responded by handing the mayor a humiliating defeat: Nearly nine of every 10 voted to remove Alvarez from office.