Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gov't employees & political activities

If you are an employee of a governmental entity in McHenry County (let's say, for example, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department), should you attend Monday evening's discussion on political rights of governmental employees?

Someone said to me years ago, "If you don't know your rights, you don't have any." I believed it then, and I believe it now.

How real is your fear of retaliation and retribution? I think your fears and suspicions will reduce, if you know more about your rights.

Are your fears real? Of course. Deputies have watched what has happened to fellow employees in other situations, such as when they went public with whistle-blowing, testifying under oath in depositions. They know that attending a political function sponsored by a challenger for their boss's job could possibly work against them.

But what if 75-100 deputies and corrections officers (or more) showed up Monday night at Jim Harrison's political event and educational program? It's Monday, December 17, 7:00PM, at Offsides in Woodstock.

The best way to know whether you want to support someone for an office is to get to know that person and hear first-hand what they have to say. This is much better than getting it second- or third-hand or, worse, not getting it at all.

The following is from Jim.

"The Local Governmental Employees Political Rights Act protects employees in their free exercise of protected political activities.  One variation of a cause of action under the statute is established by proving that the defendant used his official position of employment to coerce or inhibit others in the free exercise of their political rights.  (The prohibited conduct under this variation can take many forms, including an adverse employment action or the threat of an adverse employment action).

"If an employee was photographed at a political fundraiser for an opposition candidate, that photograph would establish that the employee engaged in political activities.  If the photograph was published on a blog, or some other news media, it would become more widely known, and of course the photograph could later be used as evidence to invoke the protections of the Political Rights Act, should an unjustified adverse employment action later befall the employee.

"With these thoughts in mind, I invite you, once again, to attend my get together on the 17th and to bring your camera along.  Thank you for thinking to limit publication to consensual photos of attendees, and I suggest that you to wait until after the Political Rights Act discussion to break out your camera and to ask the attendees whether they would like their picture taken.  By then they will be clear that the more open, outward, and public their political rights are displayed, the easier it is for them to invoke the protections of the Political Rights Act."


Justin said...

Gus, I couldn't agree more. The powers to be want the employees to fear some affect of employment retribution, fully well knowing that the individual expression of political freedom is a protected right. I encourage all pubic employees, not just those at the county level, to attend and hear what Jim has to say. It is your right. Fear plays to the strength of incumbency.

The election process allows us to examine the different candidates and discover what they stand for an hear their ideas. How else can you find out without attending these functions? Do you think the Northwest Herald will honestly represent the candidates fairly? Attending does not indicate your personal endorsement just lookn at it as a social aspect, it is a chance to meet old friends.

Gus said...

Concerned, many thanks for your comment.

I encourage all MCSD employees (and others) to show up Monday night. Remember, there is strength in numbers.

Midnight Rider Review said...

McHenry County, you have a weakened Sheriff and Under Sheriff who may well be indicted at some point. I will leave it at that.

You have a man willing to bascially hold seminars to inform you of your rights.

The local bloggers have beaten the bullying out of those "White Shirt Guys." One is sitting Federal Prison lock down with no bail,

In more than 12 years, you have never had such a opening.

Allow Mr Harrison to answer your questions, allow him to get to know you, (I have never met him) and let him educate you on your rights.

If you don' bother now, then when, after it' to late and the smoke and mirrors circle gets elected again.

I hope Mr. Harrison makes this a monthly evening and a chance for those to get to know his positions.

An informed voter, will vote!

Gus said...

Thanks, Midnight. Well said!

Ms.Hillary said...

I've been hearing many good comments about Harrison. Years ago he defended the Woodstock Police Officers when the Chief and Deputy Chief were spying on patrol officers via a taped phone. I'm planning on attending to meet him at the gathering.

Curious1 said...

Trying to figure out if this guy is running for Sheriff or just trying to stir up trouble and drum up some clients? Is it possible to sue yourself into office?