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
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Dart moves to fire jail guard for family leave misuse

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
Chicago Tribune
by William Lee

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has moved to fire a veteran jail guard, alleging the staffer abused the federal family medical leave law to take personal vacations, hang out in casinos and finish shifts early to go to a second full-time job.

It’s the first of what Dart’s office is promising will be a wider crackdown on such abuse. The goal, his staff said, is to reduce large numbers of jail guards calling off work during during a single shift, which happens on certain holidays. Sheriff’s officials named correctional officer Alexander Perteete in a 13-page complaint before the Cook County Sheriff’s Merit Board, which handles disciplinary cases, after internal investigators found what they allege were 61 instances in which he fraudulently used the Family Medical Leave Act to excuse himself from work at Cook County Jail.

Investigators with the sheriff’s Office of Professional Review allege that on multiple occasions between January 2016 and this past July, Perteete had called off under FMLA — for workers who need time off for serious health or family issues — to take vacations to Miami and Cancun, Mexico, to free up weekends and, at least 11 times, excused himself from his 3 p.m. jail shift to work a second job.

In one instance, investigators found that Perteete had called off for his afternoon Mother’s Day shift in 2016 using FMLA only to post a video of himself on his Facebook page at the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago 20 minutes after his shift was to start. He later posted a comment on his Facebook page about his mother “hitting it big” at the casino on Mother’s Day, according to the sheriff’s office.

The complaint states that in September, Perteete admitted to the casino trip to OPR investigators, as well as admitting he improperly used ordinary medical time and FMLA time for trips to Miami and Cancun. Perteete told investigators that it had been his practice to use the federal time because of stress at work, the complaint stated.

The 1993 federal law requires employers to provide their employees with job-protected absences from work for personal or family illness, or family military leave.

Perteete was immediately suspended without pay pending his termination proceedings before the merit board. A jail guard since November 2004, Perteete was approved for FMLA in September 2015 after submitting documentation from his medical practitioner related to an intermittent medical condition.

In recent months, jail officials have had to institute lockdowns at the Southwest Side jail — one of the nation’s biggest — because a large number of guards called in sick during a single shift. This past Mother’s Day, for example, more than 200 guards called off sick, prompting a jail lockdown and resulting in overtime pay spent on staffing the facility, according to the sheriff’s office.

This past Saturday, 144 of the 389 staff — or 39 percent — assigned to work the 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift called in sick, officials said. About 82 of those officers took time off under FMLA.

The crush of people calling in to say they can’t make it to work makes conditions at the jail less safe for the guards who do show up for their shifts and makes it difficult for Dart’s office to control overtime costs, said Cara Smith, Dart’s policy chief.

“We are very focused on identifying officers who are misusing the Family Medical Leave Act to the detriment of colleagues and taxpayers,” Smith said.

Perteete could not be reached for comment as he did not have a listed telephone number. It was also unclear whether he had a personal attorney. The sheriff’s merit board is responsible for hiring, promoting and firing officers, or suspensions over 30 days.

wlee@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @MidNoirCowboy



Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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