Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Cook County juvenile facility severely understaffed, leader says
Employees sometimes find themselves alone in a unit, and as a result, children are often confined to their rooms, let out only to shower, officials say

Sunday, April 06, 2008
Chicago Tribune
by Ofelia Casillas

Almost half of the roughly 560 positions at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center are vacant or inconsistently filled as the number of residents keeps rising, conditions that have become barriers to federally mandated reforms, the facility's leader said.

Earl Dunlap, who was appointed transitional administrator by a federal judge in August, said last week that since January, staff members have used 715 sick days.

An additional 45 employees have asked for paid leave for injuries suffered on duty. About half have been given the leave while the others are pending.

"It's absolutely obscene, particularly when we are seeing a steady increase in the population at the facility," Dunlap said.

Dunlap said he has been requesting since November that county officials post and fill vacant positions at the detention center, an urgent call that has met with delays.

"At every turn I have been prohibited from doing what I need to do, not based on a blatant, 'You can't do that,' but, 'Let me go back and think about it,' and nobody ever comes up with anything. I call it the art of deflection," he said.

With insufficient staffing, employees sometimes find themselves alone in a unit. As a result, children are often confined to their rooms, let out only to shower, officials said.

The shortages contributed to violent incidents at the facility, Dunlap said, including a melee in February during a school program in the chapel. After that, Dunlap ordered that residents be educated in their units instead of at the facility school.

Dunlap has been trying to make due by mandating overtime, a condition allowed for in staff contracts. But because some staff members invoke the county's family leave policy, which allows them to be exempt from overtime, Dunlap said the brunt often falls on the same few employees, who then get burned out.

Dunlap said he has 175 staff vacancies—128 of which are new positions in the 2008 budget, approved in February. He said he has made only two hires since September.

He has 17 employees on leave of absence, two on military leave and 75 on some form of family leave that either allows them to be out of work or on a limited schedule. He has 17 staff members on paid leave after they were hurt on duty.

"You cannot function the way we are currently staffed," Dunlap said.

Eugene Mullins, spokesman for
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, said he blames Dunlap and his administrators.

"Part of the problem has been a failure of their staff to provide the human resources director with current job descriptions. You have to get approval of the job descriptions before you can post the job," Mullins said.


Recent Headlines

West suburban business leaders leery of proposed Cook County sales tax hike
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle blames state lawmakers for proposed sales tax hike
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago transitional center, program for mentally disabled prison inmates helps them learn coping skills
Monday, June 29, 2015
The News-Sentinel

Misdiagnosis still covered for immunity
Monday, June 29, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Judge retiring after 15 years on the bench
Monday, June 29, 2015
Fox 32 Chicago

Vote could be close on Preckwinkle sales tax
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Chicago Tribune

After Long Fight, Cook County RNs Win New Tentative Pact with Staffing, Economic Improvements
Saturday, June 27, 2015
E News Park Forest

4-H contest brings chickens, crafts to Toyota Park
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Chicago Tribune

'History of Surgery' shares stories of Cook County Hospital
Saturday, June 27, 2015
The Daily Journal Kankakee

Proposed county sales tax hike gets pushback
Friday, June 26, 2015
Austin Weekly News

Cook County reaches tentative contract with nurses
Friday, June 26, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Obamacare ruling 'a relief,' Cook County health official says
Friday, June 26, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Pols will keep talking about Obamacare—but it's here to stay
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Businesses Fear Sales Tax Hike Would Send Customers Away
Thursday, June 25, 2015
CBS Chicago

Cook County sales tax hike should be 'very last resort,' GOP leader says
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Daily Herald

Preckwinkle proposes 1-cent sales tax increase for Cook County
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
WLS

Preckwinkle stirs up a tempest with sales tax hike
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

US Supreme Court rules in favor of Obamacare subsidies
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Not so fast on county sales tax hike
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County 4-H Fair June 27 at Toyota Park
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
The Beverly Review

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP