Archive for September 15th, 2014

North Riverside considers privatizing FD (more)

The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark has an article on the continuing push to privatize the fire department in North Riverside:

The village of North Riverside filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court on Friday, asking a judge to allow it to proceed with a plan to privatize its fire department in order to escape the “prospective devastating financial consequences” that would result from operating its full-time municipal fire department in the future.

In the lawsuit, the village claims that management and North Riverside Firefighters Union 2714 are at an impasse after “months” of negotiations. The first time the two sides sat down to discuss a new contract was June 24. Their final negotiation session, overseen by a federal mediator, took place Sept. 9.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the village’s contention that it should not in this instance be limited by language in its union contract with firefighters and contained in the Illinois Labor Relations Act, which states that no one side can unilaterally change employment conditions while negotiations or arbitration are pending.

The village’s position is that “it can no longer responsibly enter into a ‘new or amended agreement’ with the union” because of its financial situation, which it lays out in detail in the suit. Further, the village argues that neither the union contract nor labor law prevents the village from outsourcing its fire protection services “following a good-faith legislative determination of the present and future economic necessity to take such action, and following good-faith negotiations with the union.”

The firefighters union remains unconvinced that the village has any right to terminate the conditions of its contract, which expired April 30.

“They can’t do anything without a declaratory judgment,” said Rick Urbinati, president of Local 2714. “The fact is, it’s still in effect, and we’re still working. We’re not leaving work.”

North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. stated earlier this week that he would be disappointed if the village was unable to privatize the fire department by November.

As a result, the village’s attorney, Burt Odelson, said he will be asking Judge Diane J. Larsen to expedite the case during an as-yet unscheduled hearing next week.

Meanwhile, union firefighters from North Riverside and other neighboring communities met in Berwyn on Friday to discuss the possibility of pitching consolidation as a better resolution to voters as early as next spring. Urbinati said the first step is to determine what the boundaries of such a consolidated department might be. After that, firefighters would have to get enough signatures on petitions in each community that would be affected to get a consolidation question on the ballot.

As for the lawsuit pending in circuit court, Urbinati expressed confidence that a judge would uphold the language in the contract and as expressed in labor law.

“I don’t see how any judge can allow this,” said Urbinati. “But if that’s where this needs to go, we’ll wait to hear what the judge has to say.”

North Riverside Fire Lawsuit

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Northbrook Fire Chief to Retire

The Northbrook Star has an article announcing the retirement of Northbrook Fire Chief Mark Nolan.

Northbrook Fire Chief Mark Nolan announced his retirement Wednesday, effective Nov. 16, 33 years to the day from the start of his first shift as a village firefighter.

Nolan’s eight-year career as chief has been marked by some significant improvements in local safety, including, at his behest, the adoption by the Northbrook Village Board of an ordinance requiring all new single-family houses be fitted with fire sprinkler systems, a rarity in the Chicago area. It was during his tenure as chief, too, that automatic external defibrillators were installed in all Northbrook pubic buildings and in all police cars.

One of his most dramatic accomplishments came in June 2008, after a series of serious wrecks on the eastbound Tri-State Tollway Spur. He realized the cause was that drivers, mostly truckers, coming out of a Tri-State Tollway construction zone were speeding up on the Spur, just in time to hit backups on a blind curve caused by another construction zone on the Edens Expressway. He insisted that warning signs be added at the start of the Spur, and that the eastbound lanes be narrowed from two to one well before reaching the Edens, to discourage speed. The Toll Highway Authority and the Illinois Department of Transportation agreed to Nolan’s demands five days later.

Before the changes: Eight wrecks, 26 injuries and two deaths. After the changes: zero deaths, zero injuries, zero wrecks.

Three months later, Nolan dove into a flooded ditch in front of Pinstripes, 1150 Willow Road, to rescue a woman trapped in a car, filling with water, that appeared to be sliding deeper into the ditch. He swam 25 yards, still wearing his fire boots, and hoisted her through the sunroof of the car. The water had reached the top of her seat. At the low end of the car, the water in the ditch was over Nolan’s head.

Nolan had risen steadily through the ranks. He was promoted from firefighter/paramedic to lieutenant in 1991, captain in 1997, district chief in 2002, deputy chief in 2003 and chief in 2007.

thanks Dan

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Hinsdale ambulance photos

Larry Shapiro submitted images of the new Hinsdale ambulance which has a non-conventional sliding door on the side of the box versus the more common hinged door.

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Rear view of the Hinsdale ambulance with the sliding door. Larry Shapiro photo

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Hinsdale ambulance showing the sliding door. Larry Shapiro photo

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Rear view of a Niles ambulance for comparison with a more common hinged door. Larry Shapiro photo

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