Cook County Jail Braces For Blitz Of ‘Sick Calls’ During Super Bowl

(CBS) — Many businesses that will be open Sunday face a seasonal staffing problem known as “Super Bowl Fever.”

But few have as big a problem as the Cook County Jail, WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports.

“It has been a day that we have seen a significant number of call-offs,” says Cara Smith, Sheriff Tom Dart’s policy chief.

One year ago, 107 jail personnel called off on the day shift of Super Bowl Sunday and 128 on the evening shift.

The jail can’t chain guards to their posts, but Smith says Dart’s office is taking several steps to try to ease the manpower shortage.

Seventy volunteers will work Sunday, on their day off, for regular pay (not overtime).

Smith says the sheriff’s office has called more than 300 employees who have missed two or more of the past four Super Sundays.

“It’s a job. It’s a very important job. The staff is very well paid and we expected them  to be at work,” she says.

Smith says Sheriff Dart can do only so much if the employees who call off say they’re ill. But she says the jail’s superintendents will be working — to set an example.

 

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