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Cicero town president's wife, who resigned city job, collects unemployment

Elizabeth Dominick, shown with her husband, Cicero town president Larry Dominick, collected unemployment after voluntarily resigning from her job as director of the Cicero Health Department. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

When the wife of the Cicero town president quit her job, she made no bones about it.

“It is with great Joy [sic] that I have finally made the decision of resigning my position as The Health Director of the Cicero Health Department,” Elizabeth Dominick wrote at the start of her resignation letter, submitted in July, 2012.

“I can no longer remain at this capacity due to horrific mental abuse that I have had to endure for the past four years as Director.”

But unlike most people who voluntarily leave their job, Dominick managed to cash in on unemployment benefits typically reserved for those who are fired or laid off, records show.

And the Town of Cicero — led by her husband, Larry Dominick — knew all about it.

The town made no effort to stop Elizabeth Dominick from collecting unemployment benefits, Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania said. Her husband and the town board “decided they weren’t going to challenge it.”

Elizabeth Dominick could not be reached for comment.

Hanania said she “felt that she was under great stress, and that’s why she was resigning.”

The wife of the town president collected $14,661 in unemployment benefits between August, 2013 and February, 2014, according to records obtained from the town by the Chicago Sun­-Times through the Freedom of Information Act. The Town of Cicero reimburses the state for unemployment benefits paid to its former employees dollar-­for-­dollar.

Hanania said Elizabeth Dominick’s marriage to Larry Dominick had nothing to do with the town’s decision not to challenge her claim.

“The state has sole jurisdiction on who is or isn’t eligible for unemployment,” Hanania said, “and I am told by the [Cicero] legal department that it is not a decision of the town in any regard at all.”

Greg Rivara, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, would not comment on specific cases but said the “vigorous participation of employers in the unemployment insurance process is vital to arrive at accurate decisions and to protect taxpayer money.”

Rivara also said it is possible for a person who resigned from a job to properly receive unemployment benefits. For example, that person might have resigned to escape a hostile work environment, he said.

It’s not clear whether Elizabeth Dominick made that argument when she sought unemployment. Hanania wouldn’t say, and he claimed the town did not have standard documents that might shed light on the matter.

But in her letter, the town president’s wife claimed “horrific mental abuse” and then told the Sun­Times in 2012 there were “a lot of people who don’t like me because I come to work every day.”

She said Cicero Town government is “just a mess. I hate it here. I hate everything about Town Hall. There are a lot of good workers, but not in the upper echelon.”

Then she said she was sick over the stress from the job, which paid her more than $80,000 a year. She also praised her husband and called him a “phenomenal mayor.”

Elizabeth Dominick filed paperwork to divorce the Cicero town president four months later, alleging “abuse” as the legal grounds for the split. Hanania insisted to the Sun-Times this summer that the Dominicks’ divorce was proceeding.

But court records show Elizabeth Dominick changed her mind. In March 2013, she filed a hand­written motion claiming she and the town president would be going to counseling.

“Dismiss case please!” she wrote.

A judge complied.