President’s Call For Layoffs Leads To Feud Between Preckwinkle And Dart

CHICAGO (CBS) — County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sheriff Tom Dart are firing barbs at each other over the Administration’s call for layoffs and budget cuts because of revenue lost through the stalled soft drink tax.

Sheriff Tom Dart has labeled County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s proposed laoyffs in his department reckless. She suggests he hasn’t made all the cuts he should. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

“His exempt staff – managers and administrators – has grown from 146 to 270, clearly another place where he could make reductions. Expanding management is an expensive proposition. One, now more than ever, we simply cannot afford,” Preckwinkle said.

Preckwinkle said she’s only asking Sheriff Tom Dart to make the same cuts as every other department head.

When asked about a possibly bloated top staff, Dart bristled. He said it’s crazy to say that, and suggested people in the President’s Administration could seek psychological help at the jail.

“It’s insane. That’s talk of crazy people,” Dart said. “I would suggest to them I have plenty of doctors here in my mental health unit who would be happy to talk to them. That is insane. I had 23, they call them exempt-positions, my top ones. And this last budget I eliminated them on my own.”

Preckwinkle fired back, saying these decisions require leadership, not excuses, rationalizations or snide comments.

Dart insists he is cutting to make up for revenue loss from the sweetened beverage tax being suspended by the court.

“I haven’t had a CFO in six months. Haven’t had a CIO in four months. C’mon, as I said, I tried to keep this somewhat even playing, but I’m really getting to the end here,” he said.

Patience seems to be wearing thin on both sides.

Preckwinkle and Dart are elected countywide, so Dart does not have to answer to Preckwinkle. Both are seen to be potential candidates for Mayor in 2019.

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