Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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

Pappas: There's help for senior citizens struggling to pay Cook County property taxes
Friday, December 14, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Public Guardian sues DCFS: “Abject moral and human rights failure”
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Capitol Fax

Borrow $10B to help stabilize city pensions along with legal pot, casino and benefit cuts: Rahm
Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Daily Line

CTA Moves Forward with Major Red Line Projects:
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County repeals lower parking-app tax rate
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

How local suburbs voted in Cook County minimum wage/paid sick leave advisory referenda
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
The Bugel

Cook County restores tax on parking apps before January cut took effect
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

County Board to take on taxes,toilets at Wednesday meeting
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

PRECKWINKLE’s tax tweak — Details on BURKE raids — State REPUBLICANS look for hope — SUMMERS’ tirade
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Illinois Politico

Woman, 19, arrested after escaping police custody at Cook County courthouse
Sunday, December 09, 2018
WLS ABC Chicago 7

Here's an exciting prospect: A boring assessor's office
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Sheriff starts unique inmate program to combat Chicago's gun epidemic
Thursday, December 06, 2018
RTV 6 Indianapolis

Staff feud at tax appeals board turns nasty
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Tax Bills Posted Online Three Months Early
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
CBS Chicago

County Board makes it easier to choose Preckwinkle successor
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

New Cook County assessor vows end to favoritism as he takes office
Monday, December 03, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

New Cook County Board members sworn in Monday
Monday, December 03, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County referendums: 'Yes' to everything
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Chicago City Wire

Glenview to discuss Cook County minimum wage, paid sick leave ordinances in December
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wilmette reverses course, fully adopts both county minimum wage and sick time rules
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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