Thursday, February 6, 2014

More of those moments when logic seems (at first) to fly out the window

The cop who sent a text message to a 12-year-old asking her to send him “sexy” pictures of herself who will not face any additional discipline?

Or the mother who claims she got fired from her job at a grocery store because she chose to stay at home with her son on one of the days when Arctic-like weather caused the schools to be closed?

THOSE WERE A pair of stories that turned up in the news coverage on Wednesday; both of which are meant to arouse the reaction of us shaking our fists in anger and shouting out some epithet about damned fools who just can’t appreciate logic.

Although I’m sure there is a letter-of-the-law interpretation by which both actions are completely justifiable.

Personally, I’m more offended by the predicament facing Woodstock police Sergeant Chip Amati, who did get a 30-day suspension without pay after it was learned he sent the text message seeking salacious photographs.

The girl was the daughter of the woman Amati was dating at the time, and she was the one who objected to his conduct when she learned of it.

WOODSTOCK MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS penalized Amati back in October, particularly after it was learned that the sergeant also had used police computer databases to learn more about his girlfriend – even though police policies specifically prevented officers from using the databases for personal use.

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that village officials determined no additional punishment is possible because Amati cannot be disciplined more than once for the same offense.

So those people who want to view Amati as some sort of miscreant for his behavior toward the 12-year-old are going to have to accept the fact that nothing more will happen.

Even though the newspaper noted that he never really lost a month’s worth of pay – because the Police Department in Woodstock is choosing to split the time up into increments; thereby reducing its impact on his personal and professional life.


Some people are having that same reaction this week about Rhiannon Broschat, a 25-year-old from the Logan Square neighborhood who used to work at a Whole Foods grocery store in the Lake View neighborhood.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday that about 40 people picketed the company’s regional headquarters in the River North neighborhood on Broschat’s behalf.

She says that when the Chicago Public Schools were closed on Jan. 28 because of the wintry weather, she was unable to find someone who could stay with her “special needs” son. So, she says she called the store to tell them she could not show up at work – even though she had a shift scheduled for that day.

WHOLE FOODS OFFICIALS won’t comment on the incident, but Broschat says her store called her the next day, telling them she had abused the company’s attendance policy.

On the surface, it easily becomes a case of a callous company punishing a person for not putting corporate needs ahead of their personal ones. Although my gut reaction is to wonder how many other times had she been forced to call in absent because of personal needs.

I can comprehend how the job needs to get done, and that the company might want to find someone else who is capable of doing it. Yet I don’t know that this is the exact circumstance that led to this woman’s current “unemployed” status.

Who’s to say how this particular case turns out.

ULTIMATELY, IT COMES down to perspective, as Broschat herself told the Sun-Times she’s convinced she made the “right decision” when she chose to stay home with her son.

I’m sure that with all the cold weather and number of days the local schools have been closed in recent months, there are a slew of parents who suddenly found themselves in the same jam that Broschat made and will be totally sympathetic to her choice.


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