Archive for October 18th, 2014

Schaumburg settles lawsuit with firefighter

The Daily Herald has an article the settlement of a lawsuit filed by a firefighter:

Schaumburg officials Tuesday settled a 2012 discrimination lawsuit filed by one of their firefighters who said his age was the reason he lost the position of fire department public education officer in 2009. The settlement agreement calls for the village’s insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, to pay Schaumburg Firefighter Scott Kody $170,000 and for Kody to separate from the village.

The lawsuit originally sought Kody’s reinstatement as public education officer, back pay for time missed and reimbursement of legal fees.

Assistant Village Manager Paula Hewson said the decision to settle the case was made by the insurance company, which is paying the full amount. The village already has met its $100,000 deductible in defending itself in the case.

Kody’s exact age was not available Tuesday, but he’s older than 65 based on the medical benefits he’s entitled to, according to the village. He has been on unpaid leave since earlier this year and is applying for a disability pension, having exhausted all of his sick time. Kody’s recent sick time and application for the disability pension are unrelated to his lawsuit, Village Attorney Rita Elsner said.

According to the federal lawsuit, Kody joined the Schaumburg Fire Department in 1982 and worked as the public education officer from 1984 until he was removed from that position in September 2009. In April 2009, he also had been removed from various other positions, including the open house and school program, the suit stated.

The lawsuit claimed Kody was subjected to ageist comments from superiors and was encouraged to retire as public education officer because he was “getting up in age.”

When the lawsuit was filed, then Village Manager Ken Fritz disputed all its allegations. Fritz said performance was the reason for Kody’s removal from that job and that the position was then being held by someone older than Kody.

thanks Dan

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Carol Stream FPD conducts termination proceedings (more)

The Daily Herald has an article on the termination proceedings for a Carol Stream FPD battalion chief:

The Carol Stream Fire Protection District Board of Fire Commissioners has upheld charges of misconduct against Battalion Chief Joseph Gilles.

The board’s Wednesday evening decision brings an end to Gilles’ monthslong disciplinary hearing. The backbone of the charges leading to the hearing rested on Fire Chief Richard Kolomay’s allegation that the battalion chief failed to follow Kolomay’s order to sign a performance improvement plan. By not signing the plan, Gilles violated four district rules of conduct, according to the allegations.

Now that the board has supported the allegations against Gilles, the final task for the commission is determining the penalty, officials said Wednesday. The chief has requested for Gilles to be terminated.

“The commissioners correctly sorted through the evidence to determine that Battalion Chief Gilles violated the rules of the district when he blatantly refused to sign the performance improvement plan and engage in remedial training,” according to a statement from Kolomay’s attorneys.

The plan outlines core issues with Gilles, including that he does not have the proper management and leadership skills, as well as seven goals for the battalion chief. Along with the plan, the hearing also has focused on a 2012 incident during which a district paramedic responded to a woman who was choking on food. That woman was taken to the hospital and died three days later.

Gilles’s attorneys have previously suggested the battalion chief fell out of favor with district superiors when he was asked to investigate possible acts of negligence by the paramedic. His attorneys also have argued that Gilles was never actually ordered to sign the plan, and that even if he was ordered, that order would have been unlawful.

According to board documents, some of the commissioners’ findings included that Kolomay ordered Gilles to sign the plan, the “behaviors and deficiencies which the (performance improvement plan) sought to improve or remedy fell within the authority of Chief Kolomay as Fire Chief” and the PIP was a lawful order.

The commissioners also found that the plan was not in retaliation for Gilles’s position concerning the 2012 paramedic incident for multiple reasons, including that if Kolomay wanted to “cover up” the incident, he would not have required an investigation.

Both Kolomay’s and Gilles’s attorneys have been asked to prepare legal briefs for the commissioners on the issue of whether the district has the authority to enter an order of demotion, in lieu of termination.

Both sides will meet again on Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m., when attorneys can present evidence in support of the penalty they are seeking for Gilles.

thanks Dan

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As seen around … Hoffman Estates

New Ferrara for Engine 22 in Hoffman Estates from Nick Neziri

Ferrara fire engine

New Ferrara fire engine for Hoffman Estates. Nick Neziri photo

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