Welch hires convicted felon as part-time office manager

Former 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 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.

Guy "Ric" Cervone, 52, is a former Melrose Park police commander who pled guilty to Federal charges of obstruction of justice. Cervone admitted 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.

"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 of obstructing justice the day before his Feb. 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 admitted 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 last 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.

Reader Comments

3 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Billy from Melrose Park  

Posted: February 19th, 2013 1:36 PM

The Obama administration's EEOC says it should be a federal crime to refuse to hire ex-convicts EEOC Has been notified regarding you comments in your articles and how prejudices the review is on age and ex offenders not being worthy of being hired. No boo hoo here. you are just not right

Miaundra from Bellwood  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 6:39 PM

James T, this story is laced with inaccuracies. The story has been revised five times and is still inaccurate. You should be happy that we have people like our new state rep Welch who wants to help give people second chances. You should do your own research and find out the other side to this one sided story. We need people like Welch.

James T  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 11:47 AM

Unfortunately, this is status quo in Illinois politics and will continue to be as long as you people keep blindly voting for the same people the "machine" throws down your throat.

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