Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gimme your pay...

Recently a plea was made in the McHenry County Jail on behalf of the top dog - the one that gets to go home every night, not one of the inmates. Actually, on behalf of the top dog's wife.

The chief of the jail, Dan Sedlock, suffered a serious illness and was hospitalized. His wife, another McHenry County Sheriff's Department employee (and there is an interesting story about that), had to take considerable time off from work to attend to her husband, making almost daily trips to the hospital where he was - about 50 miles from their home near Chemung.

Earlier this month a memorandum at the jail "invited" employees to donate their comp time, vacation pay and/or personal days to Mrs. Sedlock, who was about to reach the end of her paid time off.

I suppose there is little inherently wrong with asking employees to cough up some time (money) for the boss's wife. Or is there?

If a notice had just been put up in the lunch room, that would be one thing. To send an email on the County system to the employees is another. And for the Deputy Chief of Corrections to ask them to inform two employees of their donated time is preposterous. This enables the Department to create a list of who did (and who did not) donate.

Think those names might reach the boss somehow? If a donation from an employee to a supervisor were made, it should be confidential between the employee and the HR division at the sheriff's department. Such a donation should not be revealed to other supervisors or to the Jail Chief's wife. No favors could be granted (or withheld) because of any generosity of a subordinate.

At the sheriff's department there are rules, and then there are Rules. One Rule is that, when you have a take-home car and will be away from work more than three days, you turn in the car. That Rule apparently didn't (doesn't?) apply to the jail's chief's car. Not only was his take-home car left at home, his wife reportedly used it to drive to the hospital (100 mile roundtrip) to visit her husband and carried family members in it. My understanding of MCSD take-home car rules is that family members are not to be transported.

It should not even be necessary to say that a family member, even the employee's wife, should not be driving the take-home car.

Why would a Jail chief even have a take-home car? His drive to work is commuting, and the sheriff's department (taxpayers) should not pay for the commuting expense of an employee. This is just another perk hidden away and out of taxpayers' sight.

Before the County Board doles out money for new cars, maybe it should count the number of cars in that type of service. Let all non-patrol deputies turn in their cars. Maybe the sheriff's department has enough cars already, without buying new ones.


AZ Supporter said...

So, what is you beef this time? Take home squads, or that employees are asked, NOT forced, to donate some of THEIR own earned time off, to a FELLOW employee? You have a problem with fellow employees closing rank, of a sort, to help another in a critical time of need? That it is, or may be, a boss is a red herring. Ever think that giving the names of people who DONATED might result in a letter of Thanks from the person who receives? This is a non issue, again. Anyone who donates time of any type will be known-it's called logic. If I'm donating time to a fellow employee where I work, don't you think SOMEONE would need to know who I am so that MY time off amount would be debited for the donation? While I MAY agree with you a very LITTLE bit about whom gets to have a "squad car" of sorts to drive back and forth to work. it IS a fairly common practice, not only at the county, but also at other departments. Some perks, in lieu of a pay raise, or as being part of a pay package, may be small potatos in the overall senerio.

FatParalegal said...

Sounds to me like there's two beefs and there's nothing wrong with that.

Notawannabee said...

This has been a long standing practice at the MCSO and is quite common at other PD’s and Fire Departments as well. Employees donate time they have already worked for and legitimately earned. This is time that is on the books. Instead of using the benefit time themselves, they donate SOME to a fellow employee so that employee doesn't run out of time and is forced to go on NO PAY status. It is a benevolent gift.

This has been done for numerous MCSO employees that have suffered injuries or sickness and were running out, or had run out, of comp, vacation and sick days.

The fact that employees care for each other is part of law enforcement. Like siblings, we may squabble amongst ourselves, but when the chips are down we rally together.

Gus said...

If the time is freely given, without expectation of anything beyond a thank-you, I have no problem with the gift.

Of course, only the net income can be given. The employee who earned the pay must report it as income and pay the related Social Security (or equivalent), Federal Income Tax and Illinois Income Tax. And the County must pay all the payroll taxes. Right?

Part of the problem arises when a list is kept, because of the possibility of snide remarks about those who did NOT give.

Steve said...

I suspect the county will handle the accounting just fine without your assistance. BTW, are you asking or telling us what the law is in this instance? I, and I'm sure many others are happy that YOU have no problem with the time being freely given. It must really pain you to get with the Christmas spirit, Gus. The other part of the problem, about the snide remarks, is more of a problem due to petty individuals such as yourself. I'm sure that some of the folks at the sheriff's office are petty but that's life. Deal with it.

Gus said...

Ahh, the Christmas spirit. It's about giving. Giving, not receiving. Not expecting. Not coercing. Not "keeping a list."

You all know what I'm talking about. There will be at least a mental list of who gave and who didn't.

Steve said...

Sure, that's life. Same as with the United Way collection at the office, same as when a business associate calls for "bail" for Muscular Dystrophy, same as when your neighbor or some acquaintance is ringing the bell for Salvation Army, and on and on and on. That's life. I still fail to see why you feel you must impute such negativity into every act by folks at the sheriff's office and elsewhere. That's life! Get one!

Gus said...

Steve, thanks for your comment, but an administrator's call for donated time for another administrator or his wife is definitely NOT the same as for donations to a charity.

As far as wondering why I question so much at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, please read more extensively of my blog. It's all there.

LAJ said...

How about this... FMLA?? Does she (a Government employee) not have rights to FMLA or is she to cheap to do take advantage of the benefit?

Good thing I don't work with this woman - she wouldn't get a minute "donated" from me; and I'd tell the administrator who sent me the memo to take a long walk off a short plank. I'd probably be fired for not donating in the long run too but so be it. My work, my pay MY benefits.

Every employer keeps a list as to what employees do in an office and what they don't do; no matter what line of work you're in. Some people are obviously to caught up with their fantasy worlds to realize Big Brother is everywhere... wake up people!