Chief Judge Evans files suit against Preckwinkle over job cuts

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans

A hearing was held Friday in a lawsuit against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Treasurer Maria Pappas filed by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

Evans said the county and Preckwinkle do not have the authority to cut more than 100 county court system jobs.

Preckwinkle said the cuts were necessary to offset revenue lost by the sweetened beverage tax repeal.

"Recognizing the judge's encouragement to engage in additional communication with the Office of the Chief Judge, we will continue to make ourselves available to the chief judge as we have throughout the budget process," said Preckwinkle's chief spokesperson, Frank Shuftan.

In a statement released Friday, County Commissioner Richard Boykin said that the Board passed a budget that "did not depend on any new tax revenues...layoff front-line sheriff's police officers, assistant state's attorneys or assistant public defenders."

"If the Chief Judge wishes to find other ways to arrive at the $26 million cut to his office, so be it," Boykin's statement said. "But all of the elected offices must come to terms with the fact that Cook County is finally living within its means, and that does not mean draconian cuts to public health and safety."

Friday's hearing consisted of a request to have a judge from outside Cook County preside over the case.

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