Chris Welch, the 7th District state rep serving Forest Park, River Forest and a swath of Proviso Township, has barely taken office and already he is revealing his arrogant and worrisome standards of public service.

To serve as the office manager of his in-district office in Westchester, Welch has hired a former Melrose Park police official who pled guilty to obstruction of justice in federal court. Ric Cervone was one of several top Melrose Park cops – including the police chief – charged by the feds with running a private security company out of the police department. And they were using on-duty cops, police cars and even the village’s gasoline to run the for-profit operation. So Ric Cervone didn’t make a single error in judgment, he took an active part in a plan to defraud the village he had sworn to protect.

In a state overrun with political corruption, there is no excuse for hiring corrupt public officials to work in state government. Save us the crocodile tears about everyone deserving second chances, about the need for society to offer a path to ex-felons. We’re all about second chances for young people who make mistakes and wind up in jail on drug charges, or for stealing a car. They need a path, an opportunity. Even men in their 40s who have had every opportunity and then choose to take part in complex conspiracies to steal from their government employer deserve second chances. Just not in government. So we’d offer Cervone full support if he turned to a trade, opened a business, sold copy machines.

That Welch, who spent 10 years hiring family and friends while he was school board president at Proviso’s District 209 high schools, would immediately start the same sleazy practices as a state rep is simply no surprise. Chris Welch is no public servant. He is in politics to get what he can. Eventually it will catch up to him and when it does he will express astonishment. That is the nature of the ego he carries with him.

This is a sad but typical start to the next chapter in Welch’s seedy career.

On a side note, our online comments were buzzing with complaints about this story: and almost half – with dozens of fake names – of them originated from the same proxy IP address.

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