COUNTRYSIDE, Ill. (CBS) – Allegations of abuse of power have surfaced in west suburban Countryside as some city workers, including police personnel, say they’re feeling pressure from the mayor’s wife.
CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman explains.
According to a city memo, a police employee says he was told the mayor’s wife, Cathy Krzeminski, was waiting for him in the lobby. She told him she works for WorkRight, an occupational health firm, and that the city should send its employees there to keep money in Countryside.
The memo says she gave the employee a brochure.
“I think it’s highly unethical,” local Ald. Sean McDermott says. “I think it’s inappropriate for any elected official or their spouse to use their position for their own financial gain.”
Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association agrees.
“When you put people in the middle like that, you’re squeezing them,” he says.
Mayor Krzeminski denied knowing anything about his wife trying to push her employer on city workers.
“If they think it’s a concern then they shouldn’t do it,” he told Hartman.
“At least the mayor gave you the right answer, in this case,” the BGA’s Shaw says. “But that begs the question: Why put people in that position in the first place?”
Shaw says what the memo describes isn’t necessarily illegal but poses problems. He says cities should bid contracts or ban nepotism to eradicate questions.
Ald. McDermott says they are looking into whether the mayor’s wife did indeed violate an ordinance already on their books.