Posts Tagged village ends agreement to share fire chief

Oak Lawn Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Oak Lawn’s former Fire Chief George Sheets submitted his resignation recently after the mayor and board of trustees butted heads with the chief on questions of policy regarding the ongoing labor negotiations with the Oak Lawn Professional Fire Fighters Local 3405.

According to sources close to Sheets, the former chief vehemently disagreed with the board majority’s edict that he support a reduction in the minimum manning number as well as other hard line stances. The same sources said that he agreed that a reduction would be acceptable but the board’s number was  too low and other ideas were morale killers that wouldn’t be approved in arbitration or in a court case.

Sheets had been a stalwart supporter of the mayor and the board majority even allowing the mayor to use his name in a political mailer in which he disavowed his own public comments regarding the fire department. Despite that support, sources close to Sheets said that the pressure of working with a board that micromanages the department had gotten to him and the last year has been one in which he was seen as disloyal.

Sheets also served as chief of Chicago Ridge but recently questioned the arrangement noting that he had 15 bosses including two mayors, one village manager, and 12 trustees. In addition to the union negotiations, he reportedly disagreed with the board’s decision to rescind its SAFER Grant application.

Sheets told several individuals that he believes the members of the department need to be treated with respect during negotiations and the hard line demands of the village manager and the board are unreasonable.

thanks Dan

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Oak Lawn Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets, who has pulled double duty as chief of neighboring Chicago Ridge, is out as the fire chief of Oak Lawn. The specifics of how, why, when, and where are being sorted out but the who in the story so far is Sheets. Chicago Ridge’s Mayor sent a letter to Oak Lawn’s Village Manager Larry Deetjen last Thursday informing him that Chicago Ridge was ending the arrangement that has been in place since July of 2014 and which allowed both village leaders to pat themselves on the back for thinking outside the box. Tokar’s letter did not have an explanation although according to Chicago Ridge sources, Tokar met with Sheets and another employee of the village last week. Shortly thereafter, Sheets met with Oak Lawn’s village manager. Sheets has been chief in Oak Lawn for nine years and has 36 years of fire service in various fire departments.

Sheets appeared in a controversial piece of literature paid for by Mayor Sandra Bury’s campaign in 2017 and is considered a favorite of Deetjen. However, Sheets dropped the other shoe and announced to the fire department that he is retiring as of July 2018. But wait, there’s more because on Tuesday the village manager is asking the board to approve an agreement that removes Sheets as chief but places him in some kind of advisory role that doesn’t exist in the Illinois Municipal Code for a fire department employee. That’s a very long transition period and not standard operating procedure. If you’re confused, stay tuned because the village board will be asked to vote for this agreement even though it isn’t on the agenda for Tuesday. If you look at the agenda, it states, Action on Executive Session Items.  Who’s hiding what and where are they hiding it?

thanks Keith

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