Review: What's in the Handbook - Discipline
The employee handbook is an interesting mashup of years of the code of conduct, procedures, and policies. From what I gather, the handbook was last fully reviewed in 2005 and has had a few updates in 2018.
So, I pulled a selection from the handbook regarding discipline. I started here because there is an undercurrent of "are the allegations fireable?" Well, let's see if they are even covered under that section. My notes from the allegations I've seen are in bold under their sections.
I will also note that I confirmed, this is an employee handbook item, which is neither acknowledged by or enforceable against Trustees or the President of the board. Unfortunately they fall under a separate code of conduct, in which some of these items do not apply.
There are 25 points called out that are worthy of discipline:
Physically or verbally abusing residents, citizens, municipal officials, fellow employees, or any member of the general public.
There are accusations of verbal abuse against Jeannine Smith.
Engaging in fighting or horseplay on Village premises or while on Village business.
Intimidating or coercing residents, citizens, municipal officials, fellow employees, or any member of the general public through physical or verbal threats. Using vile, intemperate, or abusive language, or acting in a disrespectful manner to any resident, citizen, municipal official, fellow employee, or any member of the general public.
Falsifying employment, attendance, or any other record
Providing false information or information the employee should have known to be false to a Department Director, Village Administrator, Member of the Board of Trustees, Village President, or any other Village representative during an investigation of a Village or employment related incident.
Refusing to cooperate with the Village during an investigation of a Village employment related incident.
Removing from Village premises, or being in the unauthorized possession of, Village equipment, supplies, vehicles, or property, or the equipment, supplies, vehicles, or property of a resident, citizen, municipal official, or fellow employee.
Destroying, damaging, or misusing Village property or the property of a resident, citizen, municipal official, or fellow employee.
At this time, I know of two allegations of destruction of village property (a resignation letter citing complaints and an entire email account for a former trustee)
Creating or contributing to an unsafe condition on Village premises.
This is interesting. 1) the door between the police department is a residential hollow core door and was deemed unsafe at least as far back as 2017. 2) The use of texting or calling the officer on duty to report non-emergency complaints is a certain violation of this line item as the chief has stated it puts the officers at an undue risk.
Insubordination or refusal of a direct work order or assignment.
Leaving the assign place of work during work hours when not authorized to do so.
Selling, using, being in possession of, or being under the influence of alcohol, unprescribed drugs, illegally prescribed drugs, or illegal drugs while on Village premises or while conducting Village business, or exhibiting behavior the indicated a problem exists with such drugs or alcohol, after an employee assistance program referral has been made.
Revealing Village information without proper authorization.
Being absent for three (3) consecutive days without proper notification to the Village, or excessive or unexcused absences from work.
Unauthorized possession of a weapon of any kind on Village premises or while on Village business. This Rule does not apply to sworn police officers carrying weapons pursuant to the Police Department policy.
Violating the Equal Employment Opportunity, Harassment or Sexual Harassment, ADA, or Drug and Alcohol Policies.
There are many allegations of harassment. However, the specific point I want to catalog here is that in the Anti-Harassment Policy that you can find here is about retaliation. I've heard that since these complaints have come to light, CAO has thrown around the word 'insubordination' and either written complaining employees up or threatened to (awaiting confirmation).
Sleeping, loitering, or loafing on duty.
Any conduct that threatens to breach the duty of care of the Village to its residents or the community.
As a continuation of the process that CAO Smith has used to go around the non-emergency dispatch process, she has risked the agreement with McHenry County Sheriff's office. My understanding is that all calls must go through their dispatch and even ONE done outside of that would give McHenry County Sheriff the power to terminate our agreement. The result of this termination would be the elimination of 911 services for the Village, until 3rd party, alternate (read: costly) options are put into place.
Negligent or unsatisfactory performance of assigned work.
Too many to list have been alleged here -- but I'll list the one I'm most familiar with. Per our Village Code, the CAO is required to have established an Ethics Commission. This Commission would have been the place to bring all of the allegations of financial misdeeds that have been leveled against the Village President and the CAO. Failure to set this commission up in 2017 when she was hired, looks to me like she has single handedly thwarted due process in our Village for almost 3 years.
Disruptive attitude or abusive language which is detrimental to the service, programs, and operation of the Village.
Inappropriate email and internet usage or violation of those polices.
Asking for or accepting any form of gift or gratuity in connection with Village duties or in connection with providing Village services.
Allowing the political affliation of the employee or of a resident or member of the general public to affect or in any other way influence whether a resident or member of the general public receives Village services or allowing the political affiliation of the employee or of a resident or member of the general public to affect or in any other way influence the type or qualiity of Village services available or provided to the that resident or member of the general public.
Misconduct or impropriety of similar seriousness to those items listed above.
Want to lose yourself into a picture of HR policies from over 15 years ago -- here's the full manual. If we accomplish nothing else -- a full re-write of this manual and our Village Code that is woefully out of date should be undertaken.