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Judge Holderman ...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Chicago Tribune
by Chicago Tribune editorial staff

Earl Dunlap, the head of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, is expected to go to federal court on Tuesday to seek approval to dismiss 230 workers at the chronically troubled facility.

All of the workers will be eligible to re-apply for their jobs. The best will be rehired. Those who have a college degree and get rehired will get a bump in pay.

And those who aren't qualified to work there, those who have contributed to the dangerous and chaotic conditions at the detention center... they can find another line of work.

Dunlap is trying to create a meritocracy in a place where patronage has reigned. It's time.

The Teamsters union, though, plans to protest this in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge James Holderman, who presides over a consent decree governing the juvenile center. The union likes the status quo.

The union and other opponents have filled the airwaves of local radio. Some have called Dunlap a racist. So let's point out that 14 of the 15 people on Dunlap's leadership team are African-American. And that six were promoted from within the ranks of the juvenile center.

Dunlap is proposing a fair, thorough and transparent process to revive the juvenile center. Good workers will have good jobs there. It hasn't been that way. Let's make it happen.


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