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County Whistleblower Retaliated Against

By Sean Stillmaker in News on Dec 26, 2010 4:00PM

After commenting on the fraud, waste and abuse inside the Cook County Adult Probation Department, Officer Cheryl Anderson is having an internal audit done stemming from cases years ago that can result in discipline. Anderson was one of the few officers who spoke on the record for the Illinois Policy Institute's investigation regarding the clout corruption inside the department.

Anderson has served the department for 22 years and said audits are uncommon. Before the investigation was published, Interim Department Chief Jesus Reyes said no action would be taken against employees who spoke on the record.

Anderson confirmed the merit pay system inside the department. At the end of the year staff favorites or those with inside connections get bonuses up to $2,000 cash. The money is all taxpayer money from the department's $43 million budget. But instead of going into the next year's budget, Reyes prefers this model. In the investigation Anderson said:

The department awards merit pay at the end of the year—payments of $500 to $2,000. The officers say the money is not given to those who have worked the hardest. Instead it’s given to those with clout.

“People get merit pay at the end of the year, but only if you’re part of the right fan club,” Anderson said. “They give bonuses every year to people that don’t deserve it, as long as they’re riding with the right clout. If you’re in charge of the pot, you get to divvy it up.

Anderson has also written to a Cook County Judge regarding work place harassment she has received. Discipline actions against Anderson could lead to termination. Chief Reyes did not return calls for comment made by the institute.