Six Counties in 60 Seconds
Cellini trial to start soon:
The trial of a onetime fundraiser for ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich remains on track to start soon despite a possible scheduling conflict with Blagojevich's own sentencing. Judge James Zagel said Friday at a status hearing for William Cellini that jury selection in his would begin Oct. 3. That's just three days before Zagel is scheduled to sentence Blagojevich for multiple corruption convictions. The 76-year-old Cellini pleaded not guilty to trying to shake down a Hollywood producer for campaign cash. Before his arrest, he was considered one of the top behind-the-scenes power brokers in Springfield. Zagel gave no hint Friday about whether he might delay Blagojevich's sentencing. A defense attorney raised the issue, but Zagel interrupted him and said he'd deal with the matter later.
200 CPS jobs eliminated:
The Chicago Public Schools has announced the elimination of 200 positions in the chief education office, which will result in a savings of $16 million. Although the jobs represent a 25 percent reduction in staff for the department, a budget approved in August calls for another $90 million in cuts for all departments through layoffs, eliminating vacant positions, program reduction and streamlining curriculum.
Officials wouldn't say how many more layoffs are anticipated. Chief Education Officer Moemi Donoso says elimination of the positions is part streamlining and part elimination of functions that aren't going to boost academic achievement. Donoso said a consultant did an analysis to identify positions that overlapped or failed to advance student learning.
City wants its water money:
The city of Chicago is seeking $15 million from four South suburbs it supplies with water. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Water Management Commissioner Tom Powers met Thursday with Dolton officials to iron out a payment plan. Similar talks are under way with the other suburban scofflaws -- Harvey, Robbins and Maywood. Dolton owes $1.7 million, Harvey owes $6.2 million, Robbins owes $6.1 million and Maywood owes $1.6 million. City officials say if the conversations fail to produce terms agreeable to both sides, the cases will be referred to the Department of Revenue for legal action. Robbins village administrator Napoleon Haney says the town's unpaid bill dates back three or four years. He said Thursday the village doesn't have the money to pay the bill, adding making payroll is difficult.
A fight over furloughs:
The Cook County Board is in the midst of an escalating fight over furlough days. Five commissioners this week said they weren't going to abide by the 10 days off without pay, as most of the 23,000 county workers will. However, public pressure is beginning to have an effect, with two commissioners saying they are rethinking their positions. The second thoughts come as Commissioner Larry Suffredin labeled his balking colleagues "Strogerites," a reference to former board President Todd Stroger, who lost a 2010 re-election bid. …