"Cut to the bone"? | Bleader

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Cut to the bone"?

Posted By on 08.13.08 at 03:30 PM

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This morning's Sun-Times reports that the Daley administration may have to pinkslip 1,000 city employees to try to make up for a huge budget deficit, though city officials still haven't specified how large it is or where exactly the money's short. Chicago Federation of Labor leader Dennis Gannon was predictably wary of the plan to slice the city payroll, saying layoffs in 1992 and 2002 had already pared the workforce down as far as it could go. "We've cut to the bone already," he said. "Now, you're at the bone marrow."

Whether the city's cut too much or not enough is open to debate, but we all know what usually happens during layoff time: certain protected people stay on the payroll (or manage to get added to it despite the budget woes) whether they're necessary or not, and certain others are canned whether they're necessary or not. So yes, service delivery can be affected by trimming the workforce, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. How it plays out is a question of management as much as resources. The payroll was bigger 30 years ago than it is now, but most longtime Chicagoans I've spoken with say services now are better--or at least distributed more equitably--than before.

They're also far more expensive.

Beneath the rhetoric, it is true that the city payroll dropped by about 1,200 during Daley’s 1992 cuts, and it declined by another 1,000 during the late 1990s. But it's barely changed over the last ten years, even as the budget has gone up more than 50 percent—and Daley twice was reelected decisively.






$3.3 billion



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$6.3 billion

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