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More Than 300 Cook County Workers Laid Off

CHICAGO (CBS) – Cook County board meetings are usually dry and filled with policy and procedure details.

On Tuesday, that was not the case. There were tears and real emotion.

CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez introduces us to some of the people who got the most unwelcome news, days before Thanksgiving.

Some county employees begged for their jobs.

Cook County commissioners who supported a penny-an-ounce sweetened beverage tax say they warned of the cost of repealing it: a budget amendment filled with pain.

"It has actual layoffs of human beings who have jobs and who have families," Commissioner Larry Suffredin (13th District) said.

Officials cut 321 jobs to fill a $200 million budget gap. These include:

-156 positions from the court system

-100 from the Cook County Sheriff's Department

-34 from the hospital system

-15 from the board president's office.

But commissioners say front-line services were spared.

"We did not get rid of our neurosurgeons, we did not get rid of our prosecutors, we did not get rid of our jail guards," Commissioner Sean Morrison (17th) said.

That was little comfort for Tysha Franklin, a juvenile court employee.

Franklin says she did put her two children through college working for the county and still has faith in government.

Commissioner Morrison says with an attrition rate of two thousand a year, he hopes many of the fired employees, will get a chance to return.

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