River Forest state rep. Chris Welch hires convicted felon for part-time office manager

Fired Melrose Park police commander to be paid by the state

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By Jean Lotus

Forest Park Review Editor

Newly sworn-in 7th District state representative Emanuel "Chris" Welch set up his local offices in Westchester last week at 10055 Roosevelt Road, and on the payroll as a part-time employee is a convicted felon. The 7th District covers Forest Park and River Forest as well as Maywood, Broadview, Westchester and Bellwood.

Guy "Ric" Cervone, 52, is a former Melrose Park police commander who pled guilty to federal charges of obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said he helped Melrose Park's ex-Police Chief Vito Scavo run a private security firm on public time and with public funds. Cervone is also a former school board member of District 89 in Melrose Park.

"I know that Ric has a controversial past," Welch said Thursday. "I have known Ric for 15 years. He's a heck of a guy. He works his butt off and he does a heck of a job."

Cervone was sentenced in 2010 to 60 days in jail and paid a $5,000 fine. His police pension was taken away. Prosecutors had requested 16 months in prison, but Cervone changed his plea to guilty the day before his February 2010 sentencing hearing.

Cervone was in charge of the police department's time records in the early 2000s. His boss, Scavo, was charged and convicted in a federal probe for running a private security firm using police manpower during work hours. Cervone pleaded guilty to changing, under orders of Scavo, officers' time due records to show extra time worked. This took place between 2003 and 2005.

About 100 letters of support were given to Judge Joan B. Gottschall at Cervone's sentencing hearing, one of them written by Welch. Welch said. "I'm one of the people who wrote letters to the judge. What he did was stupid and he is sorry for it and he learned from that."

Welch said Cervone works part time as an office manager in the new office, an administrative role he has performed for Welch over the past year as Welch campaigned for the state office. "Ric did the same thing for my campaign, kept the office running smoothly," Welch said. Cervone was paid $14,281.84 by the Welch campaign in 2012, according to D-2 campaign disclosure filings.

Because Cervone was just been added to the state's financial recordkeeping system last week, The Review was unable to confirm his income from the state. However, Welch said that Cervone will not receive benefits or be eligible for a state pension since he is working part-time.

Welch said he also is using the state's budget for office staffing to hire District 209 Proviso High School board member Francine Harrell as part-time constituent services coordinator. Welch is a long time District 209 board president. He stepped down from that post just this week.

"I will be hiring other people from time to time, college students who come home for the summer to serve as interns," Welch said.

This article has been updated to correct the charges to which Cervone pleaded guilty.

Reader Comments

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FYI from Forest Park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 12:31 PM

Tom, "Forest Park Eye" is your typical Welch/Calderone/Serpico supporter. He lashed out at any criticism by picking up any stick he can.The DIFFERENCE is that the charges and facts regarding Cervone- and Welch for that matter- are public record, detailed and specific. On the other hand, the innuendo about Hoskins is just that, with no specifics, just a lot of mud. In short, people like Forest Park Eye" are liars. Believe them if you want, but ask for verification. They won't have any.

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 1:45 PM

Forest Park Eye - So are you telling us that Dan Haley made up the hiring of a convicted felon by Welch? Did he also create the quotes from Welch out of whole cloth? Does Guy "Ric" Cervone even exist or is the WJ just making him up to make Welch look bad because if that was Haley's goal, I'd have to say "Mission Accomplished."

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 1:39 PM

"However, Welch said that Cervone will not receive benefits or be eligible for a state pension since he is working part-time." That is, until Cervone becomes - wait for it - full-time.

Forest Park Eye from Forest Park  

Posted: January 18th, 2013 12:18 PM

Dan Haley does not like Chris Welch and loves his then opponent Rory Hoskins who has failed miserably trying to serve the residents of Forest Park. Make no mistke about it folks, Rory Hoskins is worse than Chris Welch, yet look forward to Dan Haley continuing his crusade by uplifting Mr. Hoskins. This paper has really stooped to the lowest of lows.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 10:01 PM

I not sure Mr. Cervone's purported qualifications are transferable.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 9:54 PM

Why the cheap shot at the Village of Oak Park? I don't know if it employs any persons with a felon conviction but give this guy a 2nd chance, please. I'm not defending the action or offering any excuse but it's a really tough job market for folks who are trying to rehabilitate their lives and overcome a very serious error in judgement. We know that Mr. Cervone served his time, paid the fine and that came at a high price with the loss of his pension. A career wasted, for sure, but he still has, hopefully, a lot of productive years ahead of him.


Posted: January 17th, 2013 8:57 PM

If this job doesn't work out for Mr. Cervone he may want to apply at the Village of Oak Park.

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