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State officials claim they responded quickly

DHS "took action" after I-Team inquiries
November 12, 2009 12:02:20 PM PST
Top officials from the Illinois Department of Human Services say they launched an immediate investigation of employee misconduct after the ABC7 I-Team began asking questions about the results of our surveillance reporting. "As soon as your team brought this matter to our attention, we immediately took action," said Marielle Sainvilus, DHS communication manager. "Because this matter is under review, we are unable to conduct an on camera interview. I trust that you are able to respect the review process" she added.

The I-Team had requested interviews with state officials concerning the behavior of Martin Walsh, a long-time DHS employee and chief stationary engineer at Madden Mental Health Center in west suburban Maywood.

DHS not only denied repeated requests for interviews about the Walsh case, but also refused to allow interviews about agency policies and efforts to detect and prevent employee misconduct.

The I-Team had requested to speak with Sec. Saddler about DHS employee work rules; expectations of DHS employee conduct; supervision of DHS employee hours, overtime, etc. Neither Saddler, who was appointed last month to take over as head of the mammoth state agency, nor any other DHS official was made available to discuss how employees are kept from working short days, cheating on their time sheets and then being paid excessive overtime to make up the work.

It is unclear what immediate action has been undertaken by the Dept. of Human Services or whether it has resulted in any disciplinary action against anyone.

Instead of an providing an interview with newly appointed DHS Secretary Michelle Saddler as we had requested, agency spokesperson Sainvilus sent a copy of the following state regulation:

DHS Administrative Directive, Ethics Guidance for DHS Employees, 01.02.03.015 states as follows:

Employees are expected to be on-site, performing required duties during the hours established for their job. Tardiness and absenteeism can place unnecessary burdens on co-workers and affect on employee's work record. If an employee is unable to report to work, or is going to be tardy, the employee must contact the supervisor or designee as directed.

Absences other than for emergency situations or illnesses should normally be scheduled in advance with the employee's supervisor.

Excessive and repeated tardiness or absenteeism may be cause for disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

Employees are allowed a meal period at approximately the mid-point of their workday and two breaks, one at approximately the mid-point of the first half of the shift and one at approximately the mid-point of the second half of the shift. The timing of the meal period and breaks is subject to approval by the supervisor. An employee may not shorten his or her workday or compensate for late arrival by working through meal periods or breaks.


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