Discussion Continues on Whether Carlos Acosta Could Use His Lunch Hour While Attending County Board Meetings

Monday a Friend of McHenry County Blog wrote a piece showing that McHenry County Board member Carlos Acosta was clocking in at his DCFS job while attending some committee meetings.

He replied,

Carlos Acosta

As you know, state employees work an 8.5 hr day (8:30 am to 5 pm), but only get paid for 7.5 hours.

There is a built-in unpaid lunch hour.

As I understand our contract, if an employee uses benefit time for less than half of the business day (less than 4.25 hrs), they can also utilize their unpaid lunch hour.

The contract only states that the lunch hour shall be utilized (I’m paraphrasing) at the middle of their shift.  

For example, an employee that takes 4 hrs. off in the afternoon (1 pm to 5 pm) could actually leave during their unpaid lunch from 12 – 1.

One of the quirks of our (old) timekeeping system is that the hours in a day must equal 8.5.

So the above example would be coded as working from 8:30 until 1 pm (4.5 hrs) and then on benefit time from 1 pm to 5 pm (4 hrs.).

On the days referenced, I was utilizing benefit time from 8:30 am until 12 pm.

I utilized my unpaid lunch hour from 12 pm to 1 pm and reported to work at 1 pm.

The timesheet correctly shows 8:30 am to 12 pm (3.5 hrs) benefit time and 12 pm to 5 pm (5 hrs) contracted time, which equals 8.5 hours.

The author of Monday’s article presents the following from the Department of Children and Family Services for consideration:


Discussion Continues on Whether Carlos Acosta Could Use His Lunch Hour While Attending County Board Meetings — 10 Comments

  1. Nobody better qualified to cover “unpaid lunch” stories than my second-amendment sunshine blogger; and he has the immense belly to prove it. Keep digging, sunshine blogger,and get to the bottom of that lunch, I mean, to the bottom of this story. Stay tuned…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwwwwww…

  2. The story seems to be more about possible fraudulent activity, not just a simple unpaid lunch that appears to have actually been paid by falsifying documents.

    Which leads some to wonder how and where other documents have been falsified in favor of self at the expense of others such as the already struggling states DCFS agency, taxpayers and most likely other at risk children!!!!!!!

    You can try to deflect all you want, that’s just another example of your lack of integrity.

  3. The blog post contains an excerpt found on pdf page 48 of 196 in the 2012 – 2015 State of IL / AFSCME cba which applies to employees in the RC-14 (RC-014, Recognized Certification 14) bargaining unit .

    Here is the path to the excerpt:

    Article XII (Hours of Work and Overtime) > Section 3. General Provisions RC-14


    Mr. Acosta is in the RC-62 (RC-062, Recognized Certification 62) bargaining unit.

    Not RC-14.

    RC-62 General Provisions are covered in a difference section of the cba, that being, as follows.


    Article XII (Hours of Week and Overtime) > Section 6. General Provisions RC-10, RC-62, and RC-63.

    Article XII, Section 6 is found on pdf pages 55 – 59 of 196 in the cba.

    Following is an excerpt from pages 55 & 56 of that cba.


    “Meal Period”

    Where current practice so provides or otherwise practicable, work schedules shall provide for the work day to be broken at approximately mid-point by an uninterrupted, unpaid meal period of not less than thirty (30) minutes and no more than one (1) hour.

    However, this shall not preclude work schedules which provide for a paid meal period.

    Those employees who receive an unpaid meal period, and are required to work at their work assignments and are not relieved for such meal periods shall have such time treated as hours worked for the purpose of computing overtime and shall be paid at the appropriate rate.


    So we are still searching for documentation which supports the following statement from Mr. Acosta:

    “As I understand our contract, if an employee uses benefit time for less than half of the business day (less than 4.25 hrs), they can also utilize their unpaid lunch hour.”


    That may be the case, but where’s the documentation?


    A side note, the time sheet in the blog post at the aforementioned URL states, “Enter Hours Worked on Official State Business.”

    Lunch (meal time) is included when one enters the “Start” and “End” hours.

    But since the meal time in this case is uncompensated, perhaps state employees can perform political work during their lunch hour.

    Such political work during uncompensated time would come with the typical restrictions such as not being able to use state compensated resources such as a cell phone or auto including mileage reimbursement during uncompensated meal time.


    The 2012 – 2015 State of IL / AFSCME contract is found here:

    illinois.gov > CMS > Personnel > Employee Resources > Labor Relations > Labor Contracts > AFSCME

    At this time, the 2015 – 2023 State of IL / AFSCME contract is not posted on that website.

    A summary of the 2015 – 2023 cba is posted.

    The State & AFSCME in 2019 announced they had reached an agreement on that cba.

    So perhaps the precise language in that contract is still being finalized, a process which can sometimes take months in Illinois.


    The State of Illinois has an Executive Ethics Commission (EEC) that includes Ethics Officers at various state agencies in the Executive branch of state government (agencies falling under the Governor).

    The Ethics Officer for Children and Family Services is Carol Melton.


  4. Thank you Mark, if you are able can you post from the proper section that applies, the description of what is considered
    “Work day”?

  5. Acosta’s excuse for being negligent and partially responsible for AJ’s death is that he had a large case load.

    How is it possible for someone that states that they have too much work to have the time to work at three jobs (DCFS, Board Member, Blair)???

    The issue is not what he does on his lunch break but rather the dishonesty and legality of “double dipping” when he was warned by DCFS that he was not to engage in political activities while on their clock.

    Seems like this person is not someone that should be responsible for the safety and well-being of children.

  6. Section 6. General Provisions RC-10, RC-62 and RC-63

    a) “The Work Week”

    The work week is defined as a regularly reoccurring period of 168 hours consisting of seven (7) consecutive 24-hour periods.

    An RC-62 and RC-63 employee’s normal work week shall consist of not more than forty (40) hours.

    Past practice at work locations requiring less than forty (40) hours in a normal work week may continue.

    The normal work week shall consist of five (5) consecutive days of work followed by two (2) consecutive days off except for rotating schedules consisting of six (6) or more consecutive days of work.

    Such rotating schedules may be maintained without the payment of overtime unless the employee works in excess of his/her normal work week within the measuring period used.


    b) “Regular Work Schedule”

    Where current practice so provides, employees (except intermittent and per diem) shall be scheduled to work on a regular work schedule and each work shift shall have a regular starting and quitting time.


    Source: pdf page 55 of 196 of the 2012 – 2015 State of IL / AFSCME collective bargaining agreement (cba).



    168 hours / 7 days per week = 24 hours per day.


    Mr. Acosta is a member AFSCME Local 2833, the Collar Counties State Employee Union, which covers certain state employees in DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County and portions of Cook County and Kendall County.

  7. So if private citizens (damaged taxpayers) would each chip in small amounts of money to file a civil suit against the enabling agencies/individual fraudulent actors
    (after, of course, amassing appropriate evidence of alleged malfeasance by public official/public employee),
    would society be better served by that expenditure of crowdfunding, or,
    having that crowdfunding spent on traditional candidate/Political Party campaign donations?

  8. I don’t understand how one can take a lunch before they even step their foot in the door.

    Meal period.

    Work schedules shall provide for the WORK DAY to be BROKEN at MID-POINT

    Again WORK DAY to be BROKEN at MID-POINT.

    How could the work day be BROKEN MID-POINT when one doesn’t even start their shift until mid-point of the work day?

    In addition to this the timesheet clearly states “entered hours worked on

    And yes that part is capitalized on the timesheet itself.

    It also states ENTER WORKED HOURS in the start and end time Fields of the timesheet.

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