Saturday, August 1, 2009

Time off at the Sheriff's Department

When you go to work for a business, a company, an organization, even the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, just how much vacation time and other (time) benefits do you get?

Usually, there is a policy. In fact, these days there is quite likely a written policy. For a given number of weeks/years of employment, this is what you get: vacation time (usually starts with one week after one year; might even be two weeks), sick time, family leave, personal days, federal and state holidays. And it's all written down, so that there isn't any question about who gets what.

If a union is involved on behalf of some or all of the non-management employees, then it might even be written down in greater detail - all spelled out. By the hour, probably.

What about time off for the management personnel? Let's say, at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Is a Sergeant considered "management"? How much time off in a year does a Captain get and what arrangements must he make in advance?

How about the Undersheriff? Does he get a certain amount of time off each year?

And how about the Sheriff? How much time off does he get each year? While the Sheriff shouldn't have to punch a time-clock, is he away from the office more than, say, four weeks a year? In a County government elected position, wouldn't four weeks' vacation after 12 years on the job be about right?

Is an elected official of McHenry County, whether the Sheriff or the Treasurer or any other elected official, subject to any rules or requirements for showing up "at the office"?

Or should the elected person actually be in his office 40 hours/week or performing his duties in the County, just like every other employee? Or maybe more than 40 hours/week, as a management employee responsible for a large budget, considerable assets, many employees and, in the case of the Sheriff's Department, responsible for many inmates in the care of the many employees?

If a deputy has a second job, what if the time on duty as a deputy conflicts with the hours of that second job? Which gets preference? Can he just hang up his badge early and go to work at his second job?

What if the second job is an on-call response "job"; let's say, in addition to wearing a badge, uniform and gun, you happen to be an on-call firefighter. Maybe it's a volunteer firefighter role or maybe it's a paid, on-call firefighter job.

If you are at work and a fire breaks out, can you just hot-foot (no pun intended - or maybe one is) to your town in your squad car, find a phone booth nearby to change into your firefighter's suit, and then get paid for putting out the flames - - at the same time as you are getting paid for keeping the County safe?

Aside from any adjustment that might be made behind-the-scenes so that double-dipping on pay for the same hours doesn't kick in, how do the duties of the sheriff's department position get fulfilled, if a deputy is manning a hose on MCSD work time?


GeneL said...

Gus, do you mean like when the undersheriff takes an extra 50+ free paid days off because of a family medical situation. I'm sure they would do the same for any employee, wouldn't they? The sheriff doesn't need to be in the office, he can supervise the deputies from WI. He says he has a helicopter that can get him from upper WI to Woodstock in a half hour. I wonder if the military knows about that technology.

Gus said...

In my naive way of thinking about things, I would assume that any time off for a family emergency, in excess of vacation time plus any very limited number of personal days, would be unpaid. Seems to me that Family Leave is unpaid time off. How would an employee get "50+ free paid days" off for a family emergency? Isn't anyone minding the store?

Now, about that stealth helicopter? Is that the black one, nearly invisible, that is stored inside MARV?

Notawannabee said...

I beleive that elected officials are only required by law to attend to the office, not physically be there.

Gus said...

Excellent hiring and high standards would probably reduce the need to ride herd on overall operations.

Notawannabee said...

Gus. Since you imply that the hiring at the MCSO is lax, why don't you investigate yourself?

Getting hired at the MCSO, CLPD, Algonquin and other larger towns is quite hard. You'll find that most now being hired have a Bachelors degree in Law Enforcement or were prior military. Some come from smaller agencies looking for a better career opportunity.

First go to and click on the employment tab. Look at the requirements. The written test and physical requirements drum out many. (STATE STANDARD)

Go see Kathy Seith the EEO officer and I bet she has all kinds of info to share.

The basic test a physical agility tests may get you onto the eligibility list but then before being actually hired there is much, much more.

The MCSO send investigators out to visit neighbors and previous employers of individuals prior to anyone being hired. They must pass a PSYCH test conducted by an independent doctor. They must pass a polygraph.

As Sheriff, I'd like to know what else you would do to make sure the need to "ride herd" on overall operations is reduced?

“Ride herd” must be the Colorado influence. Jeeze, I hope we don't get out the branding iron under Sheriff Gus.