It seems that rules regarding love in the workplace are as contagious as love in February.
The village of Cary now has a policy governing romantic or sexual relationships among its staff members.
The new policy, approved by the village board on Tuesday, states that if a supervisor and subordinate develop such a relationship, the individuals "will not be permitted to continue to work in a supervisory-subordinate capacity." The village will work with the parties involved to find "mutual agreed upon solutions to address the conflict of interest."
The supervisor in the relationship has the obligation to disclose the policy to the village administrator. If the village administrator is involved in such a relationship, he or she must disclose it to the village president and board of trustees. Failure to disclose such relationships will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
The policy does not restrict relationships between staff members who are peers or work in different departments, unless they interfere with the work environment.
The new personal relationship policy wasn't created to address any known problems, said Tara Semenchuk, assistant to the village administrator.
Semenchuk would not say whether the new policy was prompted by changes made last month by the Cary Park District to its own policy regarding relationships between supervisors and subordinates.
"The approval of the appendix (to the village's personnel manual) is just part of our ongoing efforts," she said. "It was designed to be a proactive measure. The village updates the personnel manual on a regular basis."
The park district's policy changes were prompted by an incident involving former park district Executive Director Steve Cherveny and Superintendent of Recreation Susan Mayer, who in August resigned for personal reasons.
Court records show Cherveny and Mayer were cited in July for disorderly conduct, alleging they engaged in "obscene/sexual conduct in public" at the McHenry County Conservation District's Fox Bluff Conservation Area near Cary. They admitted to an amended version of the charge, and were ordered to pay fines and fees and placed under temporary court supervision.
Semenchuk said she did not know why the village did not have a personal relationship policy until now.