Archive for December 9th, 2016

Barrington Countryside FPD news

Excerpts from the

A house between Barrington Middle School’s Prairie Campus and the Barrington Area Unit School District 220 Early Learning Center on Dundee Road could soon be a small fire station, according to Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District officials.

Fire Chief James Kreher said the fire district is in the process of closing on the house fairly soon.

Representatives from the fire district and the school district have met a few times since September to talk about how the two can work together so their facilities can coexist and maybe even collaborate in the future.

One of the things they’ve discussed is working together to make it easier for the school district to move their buses around on the property. There are about 1,500 students between Prairie Middle School and the Early Learning Center, making the busing operation the second largest in the district.

Kreher said options range from leaving the house there and modifying the garage so it can house a fire truck or two, or leveling the structures and building new ones.

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Knollwood Fire Department news

Found at

Many residents found a letter on their mailbox a couple of days ago headlined “Save the Knollwood Fire Department.” Is the fire department really in danger? And can the petition the letter talks about really help?

The mission of Knollwood Neighbors is to keep residents informed of issues that may affect them, but not to tell people how to vote or what to support. In that spirit, we offer the following information.

The letter makes three main points, all of which are correct:

1. Currently the three Rockland Fire Protection District trustees are appointed by the Lake County Board President, not elected by the residents. We don’t have any direct say in who represents us. That can be changed by a legal process involving a petition followed by a referendum.

2. By a new state law, it is possible for the county board to dissolve the Rockland Fire Protection District, removing any local control over our fire services. We would still pay taxes for those services (at a rate to be determined by the county), but the county would outsource them to other departments.

3. If the Rockland Fire Protection District board were changed to an elected one, it would be exempt from that part of the law and the district could not be dissolved by an action of the county board.

The petition referred to in the letter would put a referendum on the ballot for April, in which voters would decide whether to change to an elected board. The petition requires signatures of 10% of the registered voters in the district.

The letter and the petition drive are the collaborative effort of a group of concerned residents.

thanks Dan


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Oak Lawn politics in the news (more)

Excerpts from the

What went wrong in less than one year’s time that had the Village of Oak Lawn going from pounding its chest and claiming it was going to terminate an employee to protect the safety of the public and then signing an agreement admitting its own wrongdoing?

The answer is found in a quietly signed side agreement between village officials and the Oak Lawn Professional Firefighters Association Local 3405 IAFF.  The six page document settles a dispute between the firefighters union and the village for allegedly illegal actions taken by village officials.

A very public employee discipline case came full circle with the village issuing a press release alleging phone sex, theft of union funds and sexual harassment and then inexplicably a year later writing a check for $100,000 to the very same employee with the agreement that he would retire.

According to sources familiar with the litigation between the Village of Oak Lawn and the firefighter and the union, the Village of Oak Lawn turned a minor discipline case into a full fledged witch hunt using questionable and perhaps illegal means to secure information.

The result after a year, according to the same sources, was that the Village of Oak Lawn was unable to fire the firefighter/paramedic in question based on the evidence, without facing legal repercussions for administration officials.

The union’s legal representatives seized upon the village administration’s improper overreaching and insisted on a side agreement in which the union was not required to bargain away anything other than the resignation of one firefighter who received a payout of $100,000, while maintaining his pension benefits, and a strong letter of reference.

According to sources familiar with the village’s misconduct, village administration officials attempted to videotape an employee discipline interview with firefighter/paramedic Robert Lanz even though villages are not authorized under state law to do so. The village has agreed that it will not videotape any fire department employees in the future.

Just as damning, according to our sources, the village attempted to conduct a criminal investigation of the union using the Oak Lawn Police Department and the Cook County State’s Attorney to investigate charges of the theft of union funds even after union officials did not ask for such an investigation. The village agreed that it will not interfere in the internal administration of the union in the future.

The same village officials ordered firefighter/paramedic Robert Lanz to produce his private cell phone and other personal records through subpoena power that the village does not have by state law.  The side agreement provides that the village cannot take such action in the future and the village now admits in the agreement that it does not have such power.

In the Lanz case, the firefighter/paramedic produced personal records after being threatened with termination if he failed to cooperate.  The village is now agreeing in the side agreement that it can no longer threaten fire department employees with discipline for failing to comply with such threats.  The agreement also makes the union representatives part of any disciplinary process and adds an arbitrator to decide issues that can’t be agreed upon.

Lanz had been accused of using his cell phone to call sex phone lines and the village issued a press release to that effect about a year ago.  A local blogger printed the release along with photos of someone who allegedly was called.  Lanz denied the charges.  According to our sources, the village did not have any legal right to even search the cell phone records.  Firefighters and paramedics are at the fire station for 24 hours straight with 48 hours off thereafter.  The union had contended that there was no prohibition against using one’s cell phone while at the station.

Now, the village has admitted in the document that it shall not violate anyone’s constitutional rights to privacy and that fire department staff are not currently prohibited from using cell phones while at the station.

The side agreement is a stunning admission by the village that Mayor Sandra Bury’s administration overstepped its authority and violated various fair labor laws. In addition to Lanz filing multiple actions against the village, the union had maintained a separate action which resulted in the side agreement.

The village and firefighters union has had a contentious relationship with Mayor Sandra Bury and Village Manager Larry Deetjen, who have supported reducing the number of employees on a shift.  In typical collective bargaining agreements each side must give something in return as part of a bargain.

Mayor Sandra Bury told the Daily Southtown that the terms of the agreement with Lanz left her somewhat hamstrung to articulate the village’s case against Lanz and its decision to settle with him but she implored taxpayers to trust that the board had acted in their best interest.

She is quoted in the Daily Southtown speaking about the Lanz settlement and failing to mention the side agreement:

Not everything is as it seems,” she said. “(Taxpayers) have to be confident that we acted in their best interest on this financially. There’s no benefit to the other path for the taxpayers. What’s important is closure and moving on for all parties.

However, our source said, “they (Deetjen and Bury) screwed up so badly, that they had to sign away everything and promise not to do it again.”  The same source said that the Bury and Deetjen team did not want this information made public.  The Oak Lawn Leaf received the agreement through a Freedom of Information request.

thanks Dan

The full side agreement can be downloaded -> Oak Lawn side agreement


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Working fire in Cicero, 12-8-16 (more)

more photos from Tim Olk of the Working fire in Cicero, 12-8-16

Cicero Firefighter

Tim Olk photo

Cicero FD ambulance

Tim Olk photo

Cicero FD fire engine

Tim Olk photo

Cicero Firefighters on scene

Tim Olk photo

Cicero Firefighter

Tim Olk photo

Cicero Firefighter

Tim Olk photo

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