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Proviso Probe

Sunday, January 21, 2007

GOV, cut services or cushy assignments?

Chicago Defender (Charles O’Toole):
The [rehabilitated] women credit their transformation to the compassion and support offered through the Cook County Sheriff's Department of Women's Justice Services. The department, founded in 1999, provides services ranging from addiction treatment and pre-natal care, to a furlough program that lets women spend nights with their families and receive counseling during the day.

But now the future of those programs is in jeopardy. In his proposed budget released this week, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger recommended eliminating the department and its $4.1 million in annual appropriations. The cut is part of Stroger's effort to rein in a $500 million county budget deficit without raising taxes.

How much do the deputy sheriffs working the x-ray machines at county buildings make? How much would it cost to replace them with people like TSA uses at airports? In Cook County plaintiffs have to use deputy sheriffs as process servers first. Only if the deputy sheriffs can't find the person can the plaintiffs use private process servers. How much money could Cook County save by privatizing process service?

I like providing good jobs with nice incomes. But it's sometimes a choice between cutting services that uplift people and privatizing that doesn't diminish services. Unfortunately, I suspect team Todd would rather stick it to women who could have been rehabilitated than to demand deputy sheriffs give up cushy, high-paying duties.

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