HUMAN RIGHTS AND ETHICS

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Amy Crawford, Interim Director

312.603.1100

Mission Statement

The Department of Human Rights and Ethics (DHRE) supportsthe Cook County Commission on Human Rights to protect people who live and workin Cook County from discrimination and harassment, inadequate wages and unfairwork conditions. DHRE also supports theCook County Board of Ethics to ensure that Cook County officials, employees, appointees,candidates for office, lobbyists and vendors comply with the highest standardsof ethical conduct, and to strengthen the confidence of the people of CookCounty in the fair and honest administration of their government.

Mandates

The Cook County Commission on Human Rights enforces the CookCounty Human Rights Ordinance, the Cook County Living Wage Ordinance, the CookCounty Minimum Wage Ordinance and the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance. The Cook County Board of Ethics enforces theCook County Ethics Ordinance and the Cook County Lobbyist RegistrationOrdinance. The Director of the CookCounty Board of Ethics enforces the Contingency Funds Guidelines Ordinance andthe Code of Conduct for the Finance Subcommittee on Litigation.

Key Activities and Services

  • Enforces civil rights protections set forth in the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance through investigation, mediation and adjudication
  • Enforces the Code of Conduct set forth in the Cook County Ethics Ordinance through investigation and adjudication.
  • Enforces minimum wage provisions of the Cook County Living Wage Ordinance through investigation and adjudication.
  • Enforces paid sick leave provisions of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance through rulemaking, investigation and adjudication;
  • Audits campaign contributions, lobbyist reports, procurement records and other available data sources for compliance with the Cook County Ethics Ordinance and Lobbyist Registration Ordinance;
  • Audits use of contingency funds by Cook County Board Commissioners in accordance with the Cook County Contingency Fund Guidelines Ordinance
  • Provides formal and informal advice to County officials, employees, former employees, contractors and campaign donors on interpretation of the Ethics Ordinance and Lobbyist Registration Ordinance;
  • Provides annual County ethics training and develops additional educational materials to promote knowledge and awareness of the Ethics Ordinance and Lobbyist Registration Ordinance;
  • Conducts training and outreach programs for County departments and outside organizations to prevent discrimination before it occurs;
  • Engages in advocacy and research related to enhancement of civil rights protections, workplace rights protections, prevention of sexual harassment and promotion of better relations among the County’s diverse racial, ethnic, religious, cultural and social groups

Discussion of 2017 Department and Program Outcomes

Undertook public rulemaking process to establish interpretative and procedural rules for the enforcement of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave and Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinances.

Began process of expanding ethics training to all County officials and all County offices. Assessor, Treasurer, Sheriff, County Clerk and the Commissioners of the Board of Review have agreed to initiate/expand ethics training to all employees under their supervision. The Board of Ethics continues to place an emphasis on ensuring that all requests for advisory services receive not only a legally sound response, but receive that response promptly enough that it can be integrated into the real-time decision making of the requestor. The Board of Ethics set a goal of responding to all inquiries in, on average, 3 days (4 days faster than in FY2016). In FY2017, year to date, all responses have been provided in just 1.9 days. With an institution-threatening backlog safely behind it, the Commission on Human Rights continues to focus on improving the delivery of its'

investigative and adjudicative services. In FY2017, the Commission continued to work to resolve discrimination and harassment cases faster than other venues provided by the federal, state or other local governments. Today, on average, a matter filed with the Commission will receive final disposition in344 days (inclusive of all available administrative and judicial appeals). This figure is on the order of 800-900 days shorter than the comparable measure in FY2013.

Budget, Cost Analysis and 2018 Strategic Initiatives and Goals

DHR&E proposes to reduce net salary expenses in FY 2018 by $48,422. This will be achieved by delaying the hiring of a previously budgeted investigator to handle the increased volume of work related to the July 1, 2017 effective date of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinances. In addition, further salary savings have been achieved by combining two previously separate administrative support positions into a single role at a lower net salary.

In order to minimize the operational impact of not hiring an investigator with expertise in wage and employee benefits litigation and in order to increase the capability of its current team of investigators to handle a higher volume of cases, DHRE proposes to invest in additional professional training and development for DHRE investigators. DHRE has identified a number of appropriate multi-day training programs. Completing one of these courses would be a performance expectation for DHRE investigators in FY 2018.

With an emphasis on controlling costs, the DHRE further proposes extensive non-personnel cuts including eliminating DHRE’s financial support for the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues and reducing DHRE’s footprint in 69 W. Washington.

The FY 2018 Strategic Initiatives and Goals are:

  • Systematically expand ethics training to all County agencies and offices with the goal of training all 23,000 County employees every four years (5,750 persons receiving ethics training from the Board of Ethics per year)
  • Ensure that Commission on Human Rights continues to resolve cases quickly even with the increased case load from minimum wage and earned sick leave cases (resolve at least 80% of cases within 400 days of filing)
  • Continue to automate routine audits so that limited investigative resources can focus on high quality ethics investigations(each investigator performs 120 ethics audits and investigations per year)

Appropriation and FTE's