Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:
In recent years, Harris, Gallup, and other pollsters frequently have ranked firefighters first among professionals deserving of respect and trust. But in Northbrook and Glenview, two firefighters are being viewed warily by some politicians as they vie for seats on the boards of the villages where they work.
In Illinois, firefighters can run for seats on the town bodies that govern their professions – where members make the decisions about pay, union negotiations, approval of new equipment, and in some cases, even professional discipline. But some politicians say the exception for firefighters in rules prohibiting municipal employees from seeking office in their towns is a bad one.
In Northbrook, Firefighter Scott Bush is running for trustee against three opponents slated by the Northbrook Caucus.
Thanks to a 2005 law, firefighters are allowed to seek town board seats, a privilege denied to other municipal employees. Shortly after that law’s passage, the then-chief counsel of the Illinois Municipal League wrote that a conflict of interest occurs “because the firefighter would have an interest in his or her employment contract with the corporate authorities.” Roger Huebner concluded that it “has the inexplicable reality of only creating problems where problems do not need to exist.”