Governor Pat Quinn's administration has asked a judge in Cook County to allow the state to proceed with prison closures after an arbitrator ruled that officials had followed the necessary rules. Quinn spokesman Abdon Pallasch says the ruling by arbitrator Steven Bierig (BEER'-ihg) is ``good news for taxpayers'' who want the state to eventually save $84 million a year after the closures. Bierig ruled that Quinn's office had negotiated seriously with the workers' union and could move forward with closures even though there was no agreement. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees disagrees with Bierig's ruling on workers' health and safety risks. The union has asked a southern Illinois judge not to lift a shutdown prohibition he issued earlier.
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