Archive for March 15th, 2015

Carpentersville election exposes loophole

Excerpts from an editorial at the

But it’s now serving as a testing ground for one of Illinois’ most bizarre state laws, under which a seemingly obvious conflict of interest is permitted.

Under the Local Governmental Employees Political Rights Act, all public employees have the right to run for public office in Illinois. Should they win, it is expected and often required that they give up their government job, as they could end up sitting on both sides of the bargaining table in any negotiations with public unions.

It’s for this reason that school-district employees, such as teachers, are prohibited from serving on that district’s school board in Illinois.

However, within the act lies a special provision for firefighters.

One Carpentersville firefighter, Christopher Scholl, plans to take advantage of this loophole. He’s one of six candidates seeking three open seats on the Carpentersville Village Board. Another candidate, Sara Miller, is the wife of a Carpentersville firefighter.

Under this law, firefighters – and firefighters alone – are granted the privilege of holding elected office in local governments while taking a full-time salary negotiated by the very body on which he or she serves.

This exemption applies only to local governments. Per the law, “A firefighter who is elected to the Illinois General Assembly shall, upon written application to the employer, be granted a leave of absence without compensation during his or her term of office.”

Under the Illinois Constitution, members of the Generally Assembly are barred from other public employment if the General Assembly has increased the salary for the position in question within that politician’s term. They are also prohibited from collecting a paycheck from both positions for coincident hours.

The conflict of interest in the case of Carpentersville is clear, and would create truly bizarre circumstances were Scholl – a full-time union firefighter earning over $100,000 annually in salary and benefits – or a village firefighter’s spouse, such as Miller, elected to the village board.

For example, in his role as a village board member, Scholl would in effect be serving as his boss’s boss’s boss. The board directs Carpentersville Village Manager Mark Rooney, who in turn manages Director of Public Safety Al Popp, who in turn directs Deputy Fire Chief John Skillman. Skillman is in charge of firefighters like Scholl.

Nothing would prevent Scholl from voting to fire his own boss, for example. He would also be apprised of disciplinary matters and other personnel discussions within the fire department.

In the union bargaining process, Scholl would be in a privileged position to negotiate his own salary and benefits, along with many other changes to his department’s operations. While he has pledged not vote on matters of collective bargaining for firefighters if elected, he’s gone on record expressing the desire to cut administrative positions and use that money to hire more firefighters.

Moral concerns aside, a direct beneficiary of government funds determining the allocation of those funds could have severe budgetary consequences, especially in Carpentersville.

More than 20 percent, or $5.8 million, of the village’s general fund spending for fiscal year 2015 is directed toward fire and emergency services. More than 30 full-time firefighters are covered under the union contract with the village, which is up for renegotiation in May 2016.

Permitting a public-union employee to serve on a body that negotiates contracts with that union is a clear perversion of government power. Illinois state lawmakers should act to eliminate the loophole that makes it possible.

thanks Dan

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New area ambulances

This from Ron Wolkoff:

Found these on Foster Coach website.
Ron W
Naperville FD ambulance

New ambulance for Naperville. Foster Coach photo

Glenview Fire Department Ambulance 7

New unit for Glenview Ambulance 7. Foster Coach photo

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Working fire in Chicago, 3-14-15

This from Eric Haak:

I was close to this fire at 6643 S. Racine on Saturday morning and arrived just before the smoke began to dissipate.  The fire was venting from the “B” side and appeared to be on the first floor.  There were unconfirmed reports that a deceased individual was located after the fire was out.  There was no report on whether that individual was a fire victim or had died before the fire started.  No media reports had been given at the time of this being written.
Chicago Pierce fire truck

Eric Haak photo

aerial ladder to roof of smokey house fire

Eric Haak photo

firemen working at a house fire

Eric Haak photo

Pierce ladder truck to roof of house fire

Eric Haak photo

firemen climb ground ladder at smokey house fire

Eric Haak photo

firemen with hose enter house on fire

Eric Haak photo

fireman climbs aerial ladder through smoke at house fire

Eric Haak photo

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