Cicero state rep allegedly complained to Clifford about ‘mistreating’ of husband at Metra job
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter August 31, 2013 1:20AM
“Today’s Supreme Court decision . . . sends a strong signal that states and local communities can now do whatever they want regarding immigration,” Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) tells reporters Monday in Chicago. | Chandler West~Sun-Times
Updated: October 2, 2013 6:17AM
When Democratic committeeman Charles “Charlie” Hernandez apparently had a problem at work, he knew the right person to turn to.
His politician wife.
So, state Rep. Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez (D-Cicero) allegedly complained to then Metra CEO Alex Clifford and said her husband was being mistreated at work.
Having a wife as a politician isn’t the only government benefit Charles Hernandez has.
The 61-year-old is collecting not one but two pensions from other government jobs, in addition to his Metra salary — for a total of more than $158,000 a year, pension fund records show.
He currently collects more than $73,000 a year from the Cicero police pension fund; nearly $20,000 a year from his time as a Cook County “investigator” and more than $66,000 a year from his job as a security project coordinator for Metra, according to records and a Metra spokesman.
Neither Charles Hernandez, nor his wife, responded to requests for comment.
Charles Hernandez worked for the Cicero police department for more than 25 years, records show. He retired as a lieutenant effective 2005 and, at that time, was paid nearly $82,000 a year, records show.
He is now paid $6,090 a month from the Cicero Police Pension Fund and also was on the fund’s board as recently as the end of May, according to records. It’s not clear if he’s still on the board. Members of the board did not respond to questions about Charles Hernandez.
Charles Hernandez also worked for Cook County in the Bureau of Administration as a senior investigator. He started in 1999 under former county President John H. Stroger and left the job in 2009 — ultimately earning $75,000 a year, records show. He’s paid about $1,600 a month from the County Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund, records show.
And since 2009, Charles Hernandez has been collecting a salary from Metra.
It was in that job that the Cicero Township Democratic committeeman had some kind of issue.
The political meddling regarding Metra’s rank-and-file employees was revealed during Clifford’s explosive testimony that showed deep-rooted patronage at the transit agency.
Clifford told the Regional Transportation Authority board in July that House Speaker Michael Madigan allegedly pressured Clifford to give a raise and promotion to certain employees, without saying why they deserved them.
Clifford also told the board that Rep. Hernandez approached him in March 2012 and told him that a supervisor was “mistreating” her husband, Clifford told the RTA.
“I indicated to her that it was inappropriate,” Clifford said at the public meeting. “We don’t discuss personnel matters with the public.”
Meanwhile, the allegations, Clifford testified, were “ironically” not totally true.
“The supervisor of Ms. State Representative Hernandez’s husband is not the person that she was alleging was not treating her husband right ... the individual’s direct supervisor, ironically, is [state] Rep. [Luis] Arroyo’s daughter.”