CHICAGO (WBBM) – Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios is laying off 53 workers to comply with County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s request to slash his budget by 16 percent this year.

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Board President Preckwinkle asked county department heads for budget cuts to help close a nearly $500 million shortfall. Of the 53 workers targeted for layoffs in the Assessor’s office, 48 are union members. They received 30 day notices, as required by their contract. The other five don’t have that kind of protection, so they immediately lost their jobs.

Berrios, who was criticized when he hired his son and his sister, and a close political operative kept all three of those individuals on the payroll.

Other cost-cutting measures expected to be taken by the County include debt refinancing, increases in court fees, and consolidation of departments.