An Open Letter to John P Daley

To Mr. John P Daley, Cook County Commissioner, 11th district,

Mr. Daley:

I am recent resident of your ward and a long time employee of Cook County.   I have been blessed to work with the children and families of the Cook County Juvenile Court for the past Eleven years as a member of the Clinical Interventions Division.  It is in this capacity that I am writing to you and asking for a meeting to discuss my concerns regarding the 2012 budget.  In short, I am deeply concerned that vital services will be cut from the our program in the name of austerity.

Cook County Juvenile Probation provides a vital role in taking at-risk youth and transforming them into productive members of society.  We save the county and state resource by providing these services in the family’s home, rather than in the Department of Juvenile Justice.  We empower parents so they can keep their children safe.  We keep communities safe by watching our clients.  We work with our local schools to ensure that our clients have a chance to better themselves.

Cuts to our budget directly impact the amount of the services we provide to the families of Cook County.  We will lose mental health service, sex offender treatment and supervision programs, and youth input programs (currently a trend in Juvenile Justice and pioneered in Cook County) if our funding is cut.

I would welcome an opportunity to discuss these concerns with you, as well as to generate additional ideas on how to balance the budget.

Best Regards

Martin Gleason

Cook County Juvenile Probation Officer

Clinical Interventions Division

JSO Unit/Juvenile Advisory Council Co-Chair.

Back Off

For the past two years, I have gone without a contract at work. I, like millions of other American’s, have tightened my belt due to stagnant pay, limited benefits and increased work hours.

This year I take: a pay cut, an increase in health care for less options and another increase in work. It turns out that Cook County, my employer, says that they have a budget gap of 25-35 million dollars. So they’re giving me furlough days.

I’m not complaining about the Furlough days. They are a fact of life given today’s economy and the utter mismanagement done by the County Board. What I am concerned about are my own Collective Bargaining Rights.

See, the County wants to lay off 10% of the work force. This work force provides direct services to community in terms of direct therapeutic contact OR supervision of delinquents in the community. The County could have made ends meet–they can find the money for programs like Cease Fire–but they need to send a message to our Union. That message is pretty clear:

Your Service Doesn’t Matter.

It’s no where near blatant as the attack in Wisconsin, but make no mistake, this is an collective bargaining in Chicago. President Preckwinkle has not attempted to negotiate our contract. All she wants is an overall work force reduction of 10%.

An Open Letter to My Commissioner, Jesus Garcia

Mr. Garcia:

You don’t know me, but I am a resident in your district. I am also a Cook County Juvenile Probation Officer. For the past Eleven years, I have been blessed to serve the families of Cook County on Chicago’s far south side. I cover neighborhoods where Chicago’s Finest refuse to go without a partner, a gun and a bullet proof vest. I work these same neighborhoods, sometimes well into the night, by myself. I am not complaining. I love my job. But by the end of this week, you and your colleagues want to remove my job for political reasons.

I should mention one additional fact about my job: I provide supervision, case management and treatment to juveniles who have committed sexually aggressive behaviors. I’m on the Illinois Sex Offender Management’s Board of Approved Treatment providers, and I have 12 years of direct experience working with this difficult and expensive population. The services I provide are cheaper than sending a juvenile to Big Muddy or to a residential treatment facility. And these services will be cut due to the County Board’s insistence on Layoffs.

The County Board believes the best way to close the budget gap is to lay off 29 of my coworkers. Of these 29 dedicated officer, at least two work with me in the Juvenile Sex Offender Unit. Laying off those two workers will at least double my work load. Laying off front line workers, something that President Preckwinkle stated she will not do, will directly cut the services to Cook County’s most vulnerable residents. Within 30 days, instead of providing direct service to the residents of the South Side, I may be limited to coordinating services for a much larger neighborhood. In short, I will have to attempt to find other low-cost Sex Specific Treatment Providers on Chicago’s South Side.

To be blunt, Mr. Commissioner, I am the only low-cost treatment provider on the Management Board’s list in those neighborhoods.

Instead of fixing the budget gap by eliminating waste in the forest preserve, within management or with the FIVE IT departments in Cook County (Chief Judge, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, Office of the President, Cook County Clerk), you are targeting the people who rely on services.

Why are you cutting Services, Mr. Garcia? The argument we have heard was that AFSCME refuses to negotiate. As a member of the Bargaining Committee, I can assure you that we have come to the table in good faith. We want a contract–a contract that is years past due–to ensure that our rights as workers are protected. Instead, you want to close the budget gap by directly eliminating county services, in this case necessary mental health and law enforcement. Your actions in this case will make the South Side less safe.

Mr. Garcia, I urge you to work with AFSCME to create a budget that is fair to the people of Cook County. Do not balance your budget by cutting services to the people who need them the most.

Sincerely,

Marty Gleason

PS: I would mail this do you directly, but you don’t have an email address on your Commissioner page or your campaign site.