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Local

DeKalb County Board hears update on sober living home

Members also OK sexual harassment policy

DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski addressed the meeting of the full board Wednesday, Dec. 20. The board passed a new sexual harassment policy, renewed its participation in the State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor Program and learned that the sober living home would be able to begin receiving occupants.
DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski addressed the meeting of the full board Wednesday, Dec. 20. The board passed a new sexual harassment policy, renewed its participation in the State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor Program and learned that the sober living home would be able to begin receiving occupants.

SYCAMORE – More than two years after its purchase, and tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and renovations, DeKalb County’s sober living home received approval from the city of Sycamore to begin moving in residents.

“I bring good news,” said County Board member Dianne Leifheit, R-DeKalb, when she stood to give her committee report to the board. She said the home had received approval Wednesday.

The home at 491 E. State St. was bought by the county for $145,000 in May 2015, but has been uninhabited while being remodeled to fit the county’s needs. Pipes in the home froze and burst during the winter of 2015-16, causing extensive water damage throughout the home setting back the project.

The county plans on using the home for people in treatment programs through the county’s drug and DUI courts.

County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski, D-Cortland, said Wednesday that there already is a wait list of individuals for the home. He said the proof of the concept will be in the success of the organization running it.

“It’s a model that’s been successful in other areas,” he said.

The board also approved a new sexual harassment policy for the county. After a mandate from the state of Illinois, the policy replaces one that had been in place since the 1990s and now follows guidelines required by the state.

Pietrowski said he also is working with the state’s attorney’s office to create live training for county employees about sexual harassment.

He said the live training, rather than watching a video, would be beneficial for the county.

The policy defines sexual harassment and outlines what someone should do to report it if it happens to them or if they witness it occurring. It also forbids retaliation for reporting sexual harassment.

Legislation was passed at the state level in November after legislators past and present and other personnel from the General Assembly reported that they had been victims of sexual harassment for years while working.

More than 100 people signed an open letter detailing the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in Springfield and the halls of the Capitol.

It also was noted that the General Assembly had not filled the post responsible for investigating sexual harassment claims, the legislative inspector general, since 2015.

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