STATE OF ILLINOIS
ILLINOIS LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
FEB 11 Z008
Greater Round Lake ) CORNFIELD &
Fire Protection District, ) FELDMAN
and ) Case No. S-RC-07-023
Round Lake Firefighters Union, )
International Association of Fire Fighters, )
Local 4235, )
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED DECISION AND ORDER
On September 26, 2006, the Round Lake Fire Fighters Union, IAFF, Local 4235,
(Petitioner) filed a Representation/Certification Petition based on a showing of majority
support in the above-captioned matter with the State Panel of the Illinois Labor Relations
Board, pursuant to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, 5 ILCS 315 (2006) (Act), as
amended, and the Rules and Regulations of the Illinois Labor Relations Boards, 80 Ill.
Admin. Code, Sections 1200 through 1230 (Rules). The Petitioner seeks to represent all
full-time firefighters in the rank of lieutenant employed by the Greater Round Lake Fire
Protection District (Employer) as part of an existing bargaining unit of full-time
firefighters. A hearing in this matter was held on December 13 and 14, 2006, in Cl lcago,
Illinois, at which time all parties appeared and were given a full opportunity to
participate, adduce relevant evidence, examine witnesses, argue orally and file written
briefs. Briefs have been timely filed on behalf of both parties. After full consideration of
the parties' stipulations, evidence, arguments and briefs, and upon the entire record of the
case, I recommend the following.
I. PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
1. The parties stipulated and I find that the Employer is a public employer within the
meaning of Section 3(0) of the Act.
2. The parties stipulated and I find that the Employer is a unit of local government
employing 5 or more public employees and is under the jurisdiction of the State
Panel of the Board pursuant to Sections 5(a) and 20(b) of the Act.
3. The parties stipulated and I find that the Petitioner is a labor organization within
the meaning of Section 3(i) of the Act.
4. The parties stipulated and I find that there is no history of collective bargaining
with respect to the lieutenants employed by the Employer.
5. I find that the lieutenants employed by the Employer are firefighters within the
meaning of Section 3(g-1) of the Act.
6. I find that the Petitioner is the current bargaining representative of a bargaining
unit of Employer firefighter personnel as certified by the Board in Case No. S
RC-03-077 and that includes all sworn, full-time employees in the title of
Firefighter and excludes all full-time employees with the rank of Lieutenant and
above; all part-time employees; all civilian, clerical, and contract personnel; and
all supervisory, managerial, confidential or short-term employees as defined by
7. I find that if any of the lieutenants at issue herein are found to be public
employees within the meaning of Section 3(n) of the Act than it is appropriate to
include them in the existing bargaining unit of firefighters employed by the
Employer and represented by the Petitioner.
II. ISSUES AND CONTENTIONS
The issues in this case are whether there is a contract bar to the instant petition
and whether the full-time lieutenants employed by the Employer are supervisors within
the meaning of Section 3(r) of the Act.
The Employer initially contends that the existing collective bargaining agreement
for the District's firefighter bargaining unit serves as a contract bar to the instant petition.
The Employer also argues that the lieutenants are supervisors within the meaning of the
Act in that their principle work is substantially different from their subordinates and they
have the authority to direct, discipline, reward and transfer subordinates and to adjust
their grievances and effectively recommend the hiring, discharge, promotion and
suspension of subordinates. The Employer also concludes that the lieutenants are
engaged in supervisory activity a preponderance of their working time.
The Petitioner argues that under Board practice there is no contract bar to prevent
the accretion of the non-represented lieutenants to the existing firefighter unit. The
Petitioner also asserts that the lieutenants are not supervisors as defined by the Act as
they do not meet any of the Act's criteria in support of such a finding.
III. FINDINGS OF FACT
The Employer is a fire protection district formed in 1967 to provide fire
protection and emergency medical services for several northeastern Illinois villages and
unincorporated areas with a total population of approximately 48,000 persons. Governed
by a three member board that appoints a separate three member board of commissioners,
the Employer employs a fire chief, a deputy chief, five captains, 12 lieutenants and about
45 firefighters. It also employs a fire marshal, a fire prevention officer, a public
education coordinator and an office staff. The sworn firefighters consist of full-time,
part-time, paid-on-call and contract firefighters. I Three of the captains are full-time. The
other two have paid-on-call status with one serving as well as the full-time training
officer and the other being semi-retired. Of the lieutenants nine are full-time while the
other three are paid-on-call who work an irregular schedule of evening and weekend
hours. Of the 45 firefighters 23 are employed full-time by the Employer and the other 22
are contractual firefighters who work the same shifts as full-time personnel, or part-time
or paid-on-call personnel.
The fire chief and deputy chief generally work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on
weekdays. One of the full-time captains works an eight hour weekday schedule in the
fire prevention bureau while the other two work a 24/48 schedule and with one lieutenant
(Murar) serve as a shift commander. 2 The full-time lieutenants and full-time and
JThe contractual firefighters are employed by Metro, a private employer.
2Lieutenant Murar began serving full-time as a shift commander in July 2006 after the employer moved a
captain into the fire prevention bureau. Murar had previously served as acting shift commander in the
absence of a captain.
contractual firefighters work a 24/48 work schedule on one of three shifts as assigned by
the deputy chief.
The Employer operates out of three stations with a shift commander on each shift
who, on week nights and weekends is the highest ranking officer on duty. At each station
a lieutenant, or in his or her absence a firefighter, serves as a station commander. Station
1 is the headquarters station where the chief and deputy chief, office staff, and fire
prevention officers work. The shift complement at Station 1 consists of the shift
commander, whether a captain or the one lieutenant, and five other officers composed of
a lieutenant and/or firefighters. The Station 1 fire fighting vehicles consist of a pumper
squad, an engine, a water tender, two ambulances, a brush fire vehicle and numerous staff
At Station 2 each shift is staffed by a lieutenant and five firefighters. There is
also a full-time paid-on-call captain who serves as the training officer with no
responsibility for daily station operations. Station 2 vehicles include two engines, an
aerial ladder, two ambulances and a utility vehicle. The shift commander
captain/lieutenant visits Station 2 once or twice a day for a total of less than an hour to
visit with the lieutenant and pick up and deliver paperwork.
The Station 3 shift complement is one lieutenant and two firefighters with a
complement of vehicles that includes a fire engine and an ambulance. The shift
commander visits Station 3 each day for less than an hour. The chief as well as the
deputy chief visit Station 2 and 3 less than once a week.
The Employer has a contract with Metro to provide the Employer with firefighter
trained personnel. The training officer is Metro captain Wamer who also works for the
Employer as a paid-on-call captain. The Employer has the absolute right, as exercised by
Warner, to not have a particular Metro employee assigned to the Employer.
In addition to Metro personnel the Employer utilizes the following paid-on-call
personnel: a captain, three lieutenants and 16 firefighters. They generally work weekdays
from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and weekends and holidays. These individuals are called in
to work when the Employer's regular on duty personnel have more calls than they can
handle or for a major fire or accident requiring additional firefighters. The paid-on-call
captains and lieutenants decide whether a paid-on-call firefighter should be denied work
with the Employer but regular full-time firefighter staff may offer their recommendations.
The shift commander oversees the other lieutenants in the other stations, develops
the daily work plan objectives for each station, coordinates training, makes daily visits to
all stations and makes sure the District has coverage from other area fire departments in
the event all District firefighters are at a fire scene. The shift commander also reviews
incident reports from the prior shift to ensure each report is complete and has all
necessary supporting documents. If the shift commander has a problem with a report the
commander returns it to the lieutenant station commander to have any corrections or
One lieutenant, Lieutenant Murar, always acts up as a captain in the capacity of a
shift commander and earns an act-up stipend in addition to his lieutenant pay.
Firefighter Station Duties
The duties of a firefighter are the same at all three stations. A 24 hour shift begins
at 8:00 a.m. with a shift briefing conducted by the lieutenant station commander that
covers what happened on the prior shift, community events, closed roads, problems at
particular hospitals, equipment out of service and the shift plan. The lieutenant will also
assign firefighters to different positions such as being the driver on an engine or who will
man an ambulance. After the shift briefing firefighters start on the daily apparatus checks
to make sure all vehicles and equipment are fully functional and equipped for operation.
On a rotating schedule the firefighters also conduct a more extensive inspection of each
piece of apparatus. A fonn for inspections of each particular vehicle or apparatus was
created by a lieutenant. The fonn notes such things as fluid levels, radios, required maps,
mutual aid and. fire fighting pre-plans, report fonns and self-contained breathing
apparatus, If a vehicle or piece of equipment is in need of minor repair the firefighters
are expected to make it. For major repairs the firefighters notify the station commander
and the faulty vehicle or equipment is taken out of service and scheduled for repair. The
time for each inspection depends on the type and number of vehicles/equipment being
After apparatus checks firefighters perfonn daily activities such as housekeeping
duties as determined by the station commander. The firefighters also engage in training
activities or drills, and develop a firefighting pre-plan for local buildings and do public
education events to promote fire safety. Some firefighters have particular assignments
such as ordering cleaning supplies or maintaining small tools.
Daily station activities end at about 5:00 p.m. after which firefighters generally
have no assigned duties and spend the time at dinner and doing activities of their
choosing. Occasionally they have to do a minor apparatus repair, community event or
another activity as assigned by the lieutenant. At 7:00 a.m. the next morning firefighters
make sure that equipment and vehicles are ready and the station clean for the next shift.
Each firefighter also completes a manpower report form indicating the activities they
performed during their shift.
In the absence of a lieutenant to serve as a station commander a firefighter acts up
as a lieutenant and has the same authority of a lieutenant with respect to ambulance/fire
calls and station duties. This acting up by a firefighter occurs less than the 15% of time it
did prior to the Employer promoting three individuals to lieutenant in October 2006.
Station Duties of Lieutenants
A lieutenant's shift at a station begins at 7:45 a.m. and ends at 8:00 a.m. the next
day. Lieutenants have no set daily schedule, often doing administrative duties after the
5:00 p.m. end time for assigned firefighter duties. Being station commanders, lieutenants
are responsible for the security, maintenance and operation of their assigned stations and
station vehicles/equipment and also that firefighters behave appropriately while on duty.
A lieutenant's day begins with a 7:45 a.m. conference call between all the
stations. During the call the deputy chief and shift and station commanders (captains and
lieutenants) going off duty inform the on-coming commanders of the unusual or serious
incidents that arose on the ending shift, out of service equipment, ongoing projects that
need to be completed and issues with area hospitals. A shift plan for each station
determined by the chief and deputy chief and discussed. The lieutenant station
commander are expected to follow this daily plan unless circumstances, fire or
ambulance calls being the most common reason, dictate otherwise and after discussion
with the shift commander.
At 8:00 a.m. the on-coming lieutenant has a shift meeting with the firefighters at
his or her station and ensures that the assigned firefighters are present and fit for duty.
The lieutenant also passes along to the firefighters the information from the station
conference call and discusses with them the daily shift plan including non-routine
planned activities such as a special inspection, fire drill or community event. 3 The
lieutenant then assigns firefighters to a particular position on the fire and rescue vehicles
and any other duty or responsibility such as carbon monoxide investigations as well as
the order that each unit will respond to emergency calls. This assignment and order is
usually done on a rotating basis. However, in these and other assignments the lieutenant,
in order to provide the best service to the community, also considers the strengths and
weaknesses of the personnel on his shift to maximize each firefighters' strengths and
minimize their weaknesses and avoid placing a less experienced firefighter in an
assignment he or she may not be able to handle.
After the shift meeting a lieutenant has the discretion whether to perform
vehicle/equipment checks along with the firefighters instead of administrative duties such
as completing state-required reports, data entry, reading their station e-mail or reviewing
reports from prior shifts or firefighting pre-plans. Even if a lieutenant chooses to do
apparatus/equipment checks, he is still primarily responsible for ensuring that the checks
are properly performed 4 and that either firefighters make necessary minor repairs or that a
report seeking major repairs is given to the shift commander. A lieutenant also has the
discretion whether to perform the housekeeping duties assigned to and performed by the
firefighters and when he does so also ensures that these duties are completed. s
Lieutenants and firefighters complete patient care reports, incident reports,
individual daily manpower reports, apparatus/equipment check forms, work injury or
accident reports and reports required by state fire regulations. Lieutenants are
responsible for ensuring that these reports are completed and for reviewing them. If the
review shows the report to be incomplete or inaccurate the lieutenant returns it to the
firefighter for correction. If the report indicates a firefighter did not follow the correct
procedure the lieutenant is responsible for correcting the firefighter. A lieutenant does as
much as 50% more paperwork than a firefighter.
In addition to his shift commander duties Lieutenant Murar also has responsibility
for purchasing duty uniforms and supplies for non-bargaining unit personnel 6, purchasing
dress uniforms for all personnel, recommending the purchase of equipment and
participating as an instructor in a long established training cooperative with other fire
3 Because of emergency calls and what may need to be completed on the daily plan for a prior shift a
station commander's daily plan rarely goes as intended. The station commander decides on any
adjustments to the daIly plan after discussion with the shift commander.
4 Lieutenant Mitchell testified that the chief has told lieutenants to perform apparatus/equipment checks
with firefighters as a supervisor. Lieutenant White testified that lieutenants were told to work alongside the
firefighters in doing equipment/vehi~le checks and household duties and to observe how the firefighters
were performing those duties. White admitted that he does not do this everyday.
5 Lieutenant Mitchell testified 20 to 30 percent of the time his duties are different than those of the
firefighters. He also testified that as a station officer he is responsible for maintenance of the station and
equipment and for what the firefighters are doing for the whole shIft. He also views himself as different
than a firefighter in that he answers to the shift commander and chief.
6 The Petitioner has assumed that duty for bargaining unit personnel.
Lieutenant White, in the absence of the captain on his shift, serves as the shift
commander and relocates to station #1 about 15% of his time. He also has as assigned
administrative duties the responsibility of lead fire investigator, coordinates and sets up
fire investigation training both in-house and as part of a multi-department effort and
reviews all fire investigation reports.? White, with the Chiefs approval, has set the
parameters for remaining on the fire investigations team and recommends that a
firefighter be removed as part of that team. To be a member of the team a firefighter
must complete 120 hours of investigation training offered on a limited basis by an outside
academy and then be certified via an examination given by the Illinois State Fire
Marshal's Office. White recommends to the District's chief and training officer who, if
anyone, from the District should attend investigator training. Firefighters serving as
investigators receive an additional stipend. White also has duties as a training instructor
and works with the training officer to develop firefighter training objectives and
Lieutenant Mitchell serves on the safety committee with bargaining unit
firefighters making recommendations for safety procedures and equipment, investigating
on-duty accidents and preparing accident reports with recommendations for changes and
additional training. He also is certified to administer driver license exams for District
personnel. Mitchell spends 50% more of his time doing paperwork than a firefighter.
Prior to May 2006 was the District's mechanic and during that time was involved not
only in repairs but in recommending the purchase of District fire and rescue vehicles and
participating with the chief, deputy chief and chief engineer in an annual review of all
7 There is a required number of reports an investigator is to perfoffil as decided by the chief after a group
discussion at a fire investigations team meeting. The failure to perform the required number of
vehicles and the development of a consensus for a long and short range
repair/replacement program. Mitchell had these mechanic duties even before he became
About 15% of his time Lieutenant Carraro serves as an acting shift commander in
the absence of Lieutenant Murar. Carraro serves as medical officer responsible for
evaluating and recommending ambulance and medical equipment/supplies purchases and
ensuring that emergency medications are current. In one instance Carraro's
recommendation to District Trustees for the purchase of $40,000 in equipment was
approved. He has also purchased supplies preparing a purchase order only for purchases
over $250 which is then reviewed by the chief or deputy chief. Carraro also ensures that
District ambulances are ready to pass annual state inspections, coordinates District
medical procedure with the local emergency medical system and hospitals and serves on
a system-wide equipment committee. Part of his coordinator duties includes consulting
with local hospital personnel while investigating complaints from the public about
emergency medical service provided by a firefighter. That investigation could lead to
disciplinary action against a firefighter. Finally, Carraro recommends individuals for
paramedic training, monitors their progress and provides them assistance with that
Lieutenant Wodrich has occasionally served as shift commander. He also reviews
the pre-planned requests for assistance from fire departments that are part of the area
mutual aid system to ensure that the District could provide the requested assistance. If
not, Wodrich contacts the other department to address the situation. Wodrich also
reviews the District's pre-planned requests for mutual assistance that are given to other
investigations leads to a disciplinary reprimand.
fire departments. Wodrich has also been involved in rewriting the District's evaluation
system and form.
Lieutenant Walker spends 15% of his duty time acting up as the shift commander.
Walker is the District dive master responsible for the water rescue team including team
selection, training and equipment purchases. Additionally, he is responsible for obtaining
and maintaining computerized area maps for all District uses and develops and
coordinates the computer programs for the multi-jurisdictional dispatch system used by
the District. He also is one of three individuals in the district who can assign street
addresses to new buildings and subdivisions within the District.
The District promoted three lieutenants effective October 2006: Lieutenants
DeVito, Page and Schroeder. DeVito serves as the assistant medical officer to Lieutenant
Ambulance and Fire Calls
In 2005 the Employer responded to approximately 4,380 emergency calls. On an
ambulance or paramedic call the lieutenant, or firefighter officer in charge, rides in the
right front seat providing directions to the scene and maintaining radio communication
with incident command at the station. The lieutenant also oversees the driving of the
The specific duties for each ambulance crew member at the scene, such as who
will start CPR or an intravenous line, are previously assigned during the shift meeting.
The lieutenant is in command of the scene; evaluating the situation, the severity of each
patient's injury and whether additional assistance should be called to the scene. The
lieutenant is also responsible for overseeing the treatment being given by other crew
members and for correcting any inappropriate treatment. As long as the lieutenant is not
needed to provide patient care the lieutenant will often do the patient run report while
firefighters take care of the patient. The lieutenant rotates the responsibility for the report
among the ambulance crew. If not doing paperwork the lieutenant attends to the patient
in the same manner as a firefighter. On leaving the scene the lieutenant goes into the
back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital to provide patient care and to make sure
the other firefighter is providing proper care. When a lieutenant is not on an ambulance
crew a firefighter serves as the company officer with the same responsibility and
authority of a lieutenant for overseeing the response to the call.
When first on the scene of a fire call a lieutenant assumes command and is in
charge of the crew and responsible for their safety as well as that of the public. Using his
training, experience and knowledge of Employer procedures the lieutenant decides how
to attack the fire i.e. whether to try to put the fire out or contain it until it bums out.
Additionally, a lieutenant may have to decide whether to attempt a rescue procedure. A
lieutenant may engage in fighting a fire alongside fire fighters but even then is making
decisions such as how and where to enter a building, whether to ventilate a structure and
which hose lines to use. The lieutenant issues commands to firefighters as necessary to
implement these decisions though generally a firefighter's training makes it unnecessary
to do so. Most of the time a lieutenant spends at a fire scene is working with the
firefighters as a team fighting the fire and performing firefighter duties. Though
firefighters are free to advise a lieutenant on a better way to attack a certain fire the
lieutenant does not need to follow that advice.
A lieutenant arriving first on a fire call remains in command at the scene of a fire
usually until command is assumed by a firefighter, lieutenant, captain or chief arriving on
a second unit responding to a call. 8 The individual assuming command has the authority
to make the same decisions as the first arriving lieutenant. At times a lieutenant may
remain in command of a scene even after the arrival of a higher ranking officer. Either a
chief and/or shift commander come to a majority of the fire scenes where, at their
discretion, they either assume command, perfonn hands on fire fighting functions or
serve as a senior advisor to the lieutenant in command.
Time Off and Overtime
When a firefighter is unable to report for a scheduled shift the firefighter calls the
shift commander at station 1. Non-emergency overtime assignments for firefighters are
handled by firefighters signing up for the assignment on a volunteer basis. Emergency
overtime is open to anyone who is off duty.
Lieutenants participate in the evaluations of full-time and paid-on-call firefighters.
The evaluations are done pursuant to a meeting of the shift commander (whether a
captain or Lieutenant Murar) and all lieutenants on a given shift where a consensus is
developed. 9 The lieutenant who directly supervises the firefighter at issue writes up the
evaluation section labeled "Additional Supervisory Comments and Goals for the Next
8Chief Paul Maplethorpe testified that it rarely happens that a firefighter commands at a fire scene of any
magnitude and that a later arriving lieutenant, captain or chief would replace a firefighter acting in a
Review Period". Then the evaluators sit down with evaluated firefighter and review the
evaluation. The firefighter then initials the evaluation as having been received and notes
any disagreements with the ratings given.
Evaluations for non-probationary, full-time firefighters have not been done for at
least the past two years and maybe longer. 10 A new evaluation form is being drafted by
Probationary firefighters must satisfy a list of training-based objectives that show
proficiency in each aspect of their duties. Lieutenants, being station officers, are
responsible for seeing that probationary employees complete these objectives.
Probationary firefighters are evaluated at the end of six months and again at the end of
the twelfth month of their employment. These evaluations are completed by the shift
commander and all the lieutenants on the probationary firefighter's assigned shift. They
meet together and reach a consensus on the evaluation.
Lieutenants have issued oral and written reprimands to full-time and paid-on-call
firefighters. The lieutenants investigate the circumstances they believe warrant a
reprimand and then discuss the situation with a superior officer. Sometimes the
lieutenant recommends what they believe is the appropriate disciplinary action but they
do not take this action without obtaining the chiefs or deputy chiefs or shift
9 Prior to October 2006 there were at most two lieutenants on a shift as opposed to the current three
10 Lieutenant White, who has held that rank for five years, could not recall doing any evaluations for non
probationary full-time officers.
commander's approval. II A copy of the reprimand goes into the disciplined officer's file.
The chief is made aware of all discipline.
Prior to taking disciplinary action a lieutenant may have recognized a firefighter's
shortcomings and tried to pre-empt disciplinary action through counseling. Lieutenants
decide whether discipline is appropriate given the circumstances. Normally a lieutenant
would follow progressive discipline and issue an oral reprimand for a given offense prior
to a written reprimand. However, disciplinary steps can be skipped if the lieutenant has a
good reason to do so such as the severity of the offense. Not all discipline issued to a
firefighter goes through a lieutenant as the chiefs and captains also take disciplinary
The lieutenant who is the medical officer (Carraro) investigates complaints
regarding a firefighter's conduct on an emergency medical services call. The lieutenant
would review the medical record, consult with the staff at the local hospital to see if
proper care had been given. If the lieutenant determined that proper care had not been
given or that Employer protocols had not been followed the lieutenant would be
responsible for initiating disciplinary action. On one occasion the lieutenant has
investigated a complaint and recommended to the chief that no disciplinary action be
taken since the incident complained of arose due to the error of a local hospital rather
than the conduct of the firefighter/paramedic. .The chief disagreed and directed the
lieutenant to issue a reprimand to the firefighter involved in the incident.
11 The chief testified that lieutenants have the authority to issue reprimands without the approval of a
superior and have done so. Lieutenants testified that the examples of reprimands offered at the hearing as
having been issued by them were issued only after having spoken to a superior and getting either the
superior's recommendation on what should be done or after being told that a reprimand should be issued.
When a lieutenant serving as a station commander believes a firefighter is under
the influence of drugs or alcohol or is otherwise physically or mentally impaired the
lieutenant, after consulting with the shift commander, has the authority to impose an
emergency suspension on a firefighter, i.e. relieve the firefighter from duty until the next
business day. The last use of an emergency suspension was almost 30 years ago.
A lieutenant can recommend that a firefighter be suspended but there have been
no such recommendations for at least the last twenty years. The District has in the last
two years suspended three firefighters but only on action of the Chief and or captains.
Lieutenants are involved in the adjustment of grievances under the applicable
grievance procedures for both the bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit firefighters.
The lieutenants serve as the first step of the respective grievance procedure attempting to
resolve issues such as a wrong pay rate or not being credited with the correct number of
work hours. In those two situations the lieutenant would ascertain from the grievant the
circumstances underlying the grievance and would communicate with the District's office
managerlbookkeeper about what happened and why. The lieutenant would then decide
whether the grievance had merit based on the terms of collective bargaining agreement
and has the authority to resolve the grievance in favor of the grievant without the
approval of a superior. Other grievances are beyond a lieutenant's authority to resolve.
Generally pay issue grievances concern a firefighter's claim that he or she did not
receive a step increase or a training incentive increase on time. The eligibility for these
increases is governed by a provision of the collective bargaining agreement. 12 Another
grievance concerned a firefighter not yet having received a check for a retroactive pay
increase and the lieutenant talked to the office managerlbookkeeper, determined that a
mistake had been made in the firefighter's eligibility for the increase and told the
firefighter he would be receiving the check. Another grievance over a vacation day issue
could not be handled by the lieutenant and was referred to the shift commander.
Hiring and Discharge
The District often hires as full-time firefighters individuals it utilized as part-time,
paid-on-call or contract firefighters. To become a full-time firefighter these individuals
go through the testing process of the District's three-member Board of Fire
Commissioners. That process includes a medical examination, a written and physical
examination and an interview with the chief and one with the Commissioners. A hiring
list is then issued and when an individual's name comes up on the list the District
conducts a background check through a private investigator.
As part of the background check all captains and lieutenants are questioned about
what they know, if anything, about the candidates and their work history. The captains
and lieutenants are also asked to rate a candidate they are familiar with on a range of
performance criteria and whether they rate the candidate as highly recommended,
recommended with reservations or not recommended. These background checks are
submitted to and read by the deputy chief who discusses with the chief any applicant who
has been rated as not recommended. The chief and deputy chief give more weight to the
12 Chief Paul Maplethorpe testified that the eligibility for pay increases under this provision is "pretty cut
captains and lieutenants who have had more direct contact with or knowledge about the
candidate. The background check information and a recommendation from the chief is
then forwarded to the District Board of Fire Commissioners which makes the final
decision if the results of a background check disqualifies a candidate from being hired.
Candidates who have been given a recommended with reservations rating by one
or more of the lieutenants have been hired based on the positive ratings of other captains
and lieutenants. There has been an occasion when a majority of captains and lieutenants
have rated a candidate as not recommended and the Chief and Deputy Chief then
recommended to the Board of Commissioners that the candidate not be hired.
Lieutenants have a role in the termination of a firefighter during or at the end of a
probationary period. All the lieutenants and captains on a probationary firefighters shift
evaluate the firefighter during and at the end of the probationary period. 13 In the only
two cases where a probationary firefighter was dismissed the lieutenants' and captains'
negative evaluations and recommendation that the firefighter be discharged were part of
the reason the chief sought the firefighters discharge. Additionally, in deciding whether
to accept the discharge recommendation the chief evaluated all the circumstances
underlying the recommendation and conducted interviews of District personnel
concerning the firefighter's capabilities. Finally, it was the chief who gave the firefighter
the choice to resign or come before the Board of Commissioners on a discharge
recommendation from the chief.
Regarding the discharge of a non-probationary firefighter a lieutenant would have
a role in this through the annual evaluation process and would possibly be asked about
13 A probationary firefighter works at each station and thereby under each captain and lieutenant on the
firefighter's assigned shift.
the firefighter's perfonnance by the chief and deputy chief There is no record evidence
of such a discharge.
Transfer and Promotion
Lieutenants have no authority to transfer personnel to another shift but can move
firefighters between stations in order to balance the number of personnel at each station
on a given shift. 14 For example, there may be only a lieutenant and one firefighter at
station three which needs to be staffed with a lieutenant and two firefighters. The transfer
would last for that one shift and involve no change in a firefighter's pay.
As part of the District promotion process the chief has the discretion to award
points to each promotional candidate. In deciding what points to award the chief has
asked the deputy chief and most of the captains and lieutenants to rank order promotion
candidates. The chief then averages out the rankings to decide how many points to give
each candidate. Lieutenants have also been asked to prepare questions for the Board of
Commissioners for that Board's interview of firefighter candidates for lieutenant.
Firefighters seeking to be a District participant on area-wide special teams which
include members from other fire departments ask the head of the team. These teams
include a dive team, HAZMAT team, trench rescue team, structural collapse team and a
mechanics team. There is also a District only investigations team. Being on a team gives
a member additional income in the fonn of overtime that comes with the team training.
Only two District lieutenants are the head of a team, one for the dive team and
another for the. investigations team. These lieutenants have the authority to recommend
appointment to their team but have sole discretion to remove a. team member. A
firefighter needs training to be appointed to a team and the training must be approved by
the captain who serves as the training officer. Additionally, the Chief, deputy chief and
training officer captain evaluate the appointment request to see if it meets the overall
needs of the District and that the District can meet the additional overtime expense.
Currently, there are no vacancies on any of the aforementioned teams.
Training objectives for Department personnel and a weekly training schedule are
prepared by the captain serving as the training officer with input from the lieutenants and
firefighter company officers. With the exception of the occasional training session that
can only be held on a specific date, the date training is held can be changed by a
lieutenant as long as scheduled training for a given month is completed during that
Unlike firefighters each lieutenant has to be state certified as a fire servIce
instructor. Being the station commander a lieutenant, rather than a firefighter, is
responsible for overseeing the firefighters as they perform or watch the daily
drills/training sessions or videos scheduled by the Department training officer.
Sometimes, at the discretion of the lieutenant, a particularly skilled company officer or
firefighter leads the daily drills which last at least an hour. If a scheduled training cannot
14 There is contrary testimony of Chief Paul Maplethorpe and Lieutenant Mitchell as to whether a transfer
between stations requires approval of the shift commander. Mitchell further testified that in his experience
be done on a given shift the lieutenant will ensure that it is done after 5:00 p.m. or the
next scheduled day for his shift. A lieutenant can schedule training for firefighters on his
shift beyond the training scheduled by the training officer.
Lieutenants have received training not provided to firefighters in supervision of
firefighters both at an emergency scene and while at the station.
Large monthly staff meetings are held including the chief, deputy chief, captains,
lieutenants, fire marshal, fire prevention bureau and chief engineer - a Metro contractual
.firefighter - responsible for apparatus and equipment. A second monthly meeting is held
of the executive team consisting of the chiefs, shift commanders and fire marshal. The
agenda for the meetings is prepared by the chief with input from the attendees.
Participants are expected to keep confidential any discussion on personnel issues.
The meetings last two to three hours and consist of training the participants in
new policy or procedures and discussions on operations and policy, firefighter collective
bargaining proposals, budget matters and personnel issues such as the probationary status
of both full-time and paid-on-call personnel. Regarding the budget a working budget is
developed based on input or budget requests from any and all District personnel. At the
February monthly meeting each year the requests are discussed and prioritized. As for
collective bargaining, lieutenants have been asked by the chief for their view on matters
being considered for inclusion in the firefighter collective bargaining agreement.
a recommendation for a station transfer has always been given.
IV. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
The threshold issue in this case is whether a contract bar exists rendering the
instant petition untimely. Section 9(h) of the Act sets out the basis of the contract bar in
No election shall be directed by the Board in any bargaining unit
where there is in force a valid collective bargaining agreement. The
Board, however, may process an election petition filed between 90
and 60 days prior to the expiration of the date of an agreement, and
may further refine, by rule or decision, the implementation of this
provision. Where more than 4 years have elapsed since the effective
date of the agreement, the agreement shall continue to bar an
election, except that the Board may process an election petition filed
between 90 and 60 days prior to the end of the fifth year of such an
agreement, and between 90 and 60 days prior to the end of each
successive year of such agreement.
Section 1210.35(a)(1) ofthe Rules echoes this same principle stating in that
When there is in effect a collective bargaining agreement of 3 years
or shorter duration covering all or some of the employees in the
bargaining unit, representation and decertification petitions may be
filed during the window period (between 90 and 60 days prior to the
scheduled expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement) or
anytime after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
However, the collective bargaining agreement shall serve as a bar
(contract bar) to filing representation or decertification petitions
outside of the window period.
The District believes that under these provIsIOns the current collective bargaining
agreement for District firefighters bars the instant petition since the Petitioner is seeking a
bargaining unit of firefighters and lieutenants. This interpretation of the Petitioner's
petition is inaccurate. The petition does not seek a bargaining unit of firefighters and
lieutenants but only seeks to add the lieutenants to an existing bargaining unit. To put it
another way, the petition does not raise any issue regarding the representational status of
the firefighters but only the lieutenants. This distinction is important since a contract bar
only has relevance if the petitioned-for bargaining unit is subject to a collective
bargaining agreement. As the petitioned-for lieutenants are not subject to a collective
bargaining agreement there is no applicable contract bar.
The District's post-hearing brief acknowledges the Board's long standing
procedure allowing, through a representation petition, additions of non-represented
employees to an existing bargaining unit during the term of an agreement covering that
unit. The District offers no Board law to the contrary in support of its contract bar
argument but instead relies on case precedence of the National Labor Relations Board
(NLRB). However, none of the cited cases involve a representation petition seeking to
add non-represented employees to an existing unit during the term of an agreement for
that unit. Rather, the cases concern a request to add an employee classification to an
existing unit through a unit clarification petition or by the parties' agreement where the
date of that request was close to the date the parties had reached a bargaining agreement
that defined the scope of the bargaining unit. Finding that the agreed scope of the unit
did not include the employee classification at issue and neither party reserved the right to
seek inclusion of that classification, the NLRB rejected the requested unit clarification.
However, as one of the District's cited cases acknowledges, though a requested unit
clarification to add positions to a bargaining unit was barred by the parties' agreement
defining the scope of the unit, the requested additions could be processed through the
NLRB's representation election procedure. IS This is just what the Petitioner is
attempting to do with respect to the Board's representation procedure.
IS Union Electric Company, 217 NLRB 666 (1975). Another case cited by the District observed that the
purpose of the policy the District urges the Board to adopt was to protect the employees' right to select
The issue as to the full-time lieutenants is whether they are supervisors within the
meaning of Section 3(r) of the Act, which establishes the requirements for a supervisor
who is also a firefighter. 16 The alleged supervisor must (1) have principal work
substantially different from that of his subordinates; (2) possess authority in the interest
of the employer to perform one or more of the 11 indicia of supervisory authority
enumerated in the Act with the consistent exercise of independent judgment and; (3)
spend a preponderance of employment time engaged in supervisory duties. City of
Freeport v. Illinois State Labor Relations Board, 135 Ill.2d. 499, 554 N.E.2d 155,6 PERI
~4019 (1990); Elk Grove Village v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, 245 Ill.App.3d 109,
613 N .E.2d 311, (2d Dist. 1993). The District has the burden of proving its contention
that the lieutenants are supervisors. Village of New Lenox, 23 PERI ~104 (IL LLRB-SP
2007); Village of Bolingbrook, 19 PERI ~125 (IL ILRB-SP 2003).
In determining whether the principal work requirement has been met, the initial
consideration is whether the work of the alleged supervisor and that of his subordinates is
their bargaining representative. United Parcel Service, 303 NLRB 326 (1991). In this case, the lieutenants'
right to select a representative is preserved by the representation petition filed by the Petitioner.
16 Section 3(r) of the Act states, in relevant part:
"Supervisor" is an employee whose principle work is substantially different than
that of his subordinates and who has authority, in the interest of the employer, to
hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, promote, discharge, direct, reward, or
discipline employees, or to adjust their grievances, or to effectively recommend
such action, if the exercise of such authority is not merely of a routine or clerical
nature, but requires the consistent use of independent judgment. Except with
respect to police employment, the tenn "supervisor" includes only those
individuals who devote a preponderance of their employment time to exercising
such authority State supervisors notwithstanding.
obviously and visibly different. City of Freeport v. ISLRB, 135 Il1.2d 499,6 PERI ~4019
(1990). If that work is obviously and visibly different, the requirement is met.
The lieutenants' principle work is obviously and visibly different from
their subordinate firefighters. At the station the lieutenant always serves as a station
commander responsible for the operations and activity of station personnel. The daily
station routine of a lieutenant begins with the 7:45 a.m. conference call as opposed to the
8:00 a.m. start time for a firefighter. Lieutenants are responsible for holding the daily
shift meeting at which time they relay important information to the firefighters, present
the day's shift plan and determine firefighter assignments. Lieutenants, unlike
firefighters, have the discretion whether to perform the daily equip~ent/apparatus
inspections and housekeeping duties required of firefighters and, even if the lieutenants
do so, a part of their function includes ensuring that the firefighters are correctly
performing those duties. Finally, lieutenants have assigned administrative duties that the
firefighters do not perform and lieutenants have as much as 50% more paperwork than
firefighters. While a firefighter can serve as a station commander with all the authority
and responsibility of a lieutenant, lieutenants always serve as a station commander while
firefighters acts in this capacity less than 15% of the time.
Even when responding to emergency calls the lieutenants' function differs from
that of the firefighters. On an ambulance call a lieutenant always rides in the right front
seat and maintains communication with incident command. Upon arrival the lieutenant
assumes command of the scene and issues any necessary instructions to other District
personnel in addition to providing direct patient care. The lieutenant, when in the first
unit arriving at a fire scene, assumes command, evaluates the situation and issues any
instructions on how to handle the fire. A firefighter can serve as an incident commander
but a lieutenant always does so on an ambulance call and does so more often at a fire
scene than a firefighter.
With respect to the second and third prongs of the Act's supervisory definition, it
must be detennined whether the full-time lieutenants have the authority to perfonn or
effectively recommend any of the 11 indicia of supervisory authority listed in the Act and
consistently exercise that authority with independent judgment. Even the ability to
perfonn or effectively recommend one of the supervisory indicia is enough to support a
finding of supervisory status. Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County v.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et aI., 153
Il1.2d 508, 607 N.E.2d 182, 9 PERI ~4004 (1992). Moreover, the use of independent
judgment must involve a consistent choice between two or more significant courses of
action and cannot be routine or clerical in nature or be made merely on the basis of the
alleged supervisor's superior skill, experience or knowledge. City of Freeport v. ISLRB,
135 IlI.2d 499, 6 PERI '4019 (1990); Chief Judge of the Circuit of Cook County, supra,
Village of Justice, 17 PERI~2007 (ILRB-SP 2000). Finally, an effective
recommendation satisfying the Act's supervisor requirements is one that is adopted by
the alleged supervisor's superiors as a matter of course with very little, if any,
independent or de novo review. City of Peru v. ISLRB, 167 Ill.App.3d. 284, 4 PERI
~4008 (IL SLRB 1988); Peoria Housing Authority, 10 PERI ~2020 (IL SLRB 1994),affd
Qy unpub. order, docket No. 3-90317 (3rd Dist. 1995); Village of Justice, supra. In this
case, the District contends that the lieutenants exercise supervisory authority under the
Act in having the authority to direct, discipline, reward and transfer subordinates and to
adjust their grievances and effectively recommend the hiring, discharge, promotion and
suspension of subordinates.
The authority to direct involves functions relating to overseeing an employer's
operations or which indicate responsibility for the performance of a subordinate's work.
Village of Glen Carbon, 8 PERI ~2026 (IL SLRB 1992); City of Lincoln, 4 PERI ~2041
(IL SLRB 1988). These functions include reviewing and monitoring work activities,
instructions on how work is to be performed, scheduling work hours, assigning work,
approving requests for leave or overtime and completing performance evaluations.
County of Lake, 16 PERI ~2036 (IL SLRB 2000); Northwest Mosquito Abatement
District, 13 PERI ~2042 (IL SLRB 1997); Peoria Housing Authority, 10 PERI ~2020 (IL
SLRB 1994); Village of Glen Carbon, 8 PERI ~2026 (IL SLRB 1992). The Board has
also previously held that these and any other function of direction are not supervisory
direction absent evidence that the alleged supervisor possesses significant discretion to
affect their subordinates employment in areas likely to fall within the scope of union
representation, such as discipline, transfer, promotion or hire. County of Lake, supra;
City of Bloomington, 13 PERI ~2041 (IL SLRB 1997); City of Sparta, 9 PERI ~2029 (IL
The District contends that the lieutenants' supervIsory authority to direct is
exemplified by the fact that the District's chiefs and captail)s provide very little direction
to firefighters and that as a station commander a lieutenant has the primary day-to-day
responsibility to direct the work of subordinate station personnel. However, in exercising
the elements of direction there is scant evidence that the lieutenants exercise the requisite
independent judgment. In assigning firefighters to a particular position on fire and rescue
vehicles and the order of responding to a call this is usually done on a rotating basis that
requires no discretion on the part of a lieutenant. Though a lieutenant may alter that
rotation if he feels a particular firefighter cannot handle a given assignment there is no
record evidence of them having done so. The same conclusion applies to the assignment
of apparatus and equipment checks. .This decision is made on a rotating basis and
confonn to an established checklist. Though the lieutenants are charged with the
responsibility to ensure that the firefighters perfonn these tasks well there is no evidence
that this oversight involves anything more than routine or clerical type decision making.
As for the lieutenants direction at ambulance calls or fire scenes the
preponderance of the record evidence indicates that these decisions are based on the
lieutenants' greater experience and training rather independent judgment exercised in the
interest of the District as an employer. City of Freeport v. ISLRB, 135 Il1.2d 499,6 PERI
'4019 (I990); Village of Elk Grove Village and lllinois State Labor Relations Board, 245
Ill.App.3d 109,613 N.E.2d 311 (2d Dist. 1993); Village of Downers Grove v. Illinois
State Labor Relations Board, 221 Ill.App.3d 47, 581 N.E.2d 824 (2d Dist. 1991). For all
these reasons I find that the lieutenants' authority to direct is not supervisory direction
within the meaning of the Act.
Discipline and Suspension
Though Lieutenants have signed and issued oral and written reprimands to
firefighters the preponderance of the record evidence is that they have not done so
without talking with a superior and obtaining pcnnission, approval or a recommendation
to take that action. In view of this, the best that can be said is that the lieutenants
effectively recommend oral and written reprimands. Regarding suspensions, the record is
devoid of any evidence concerning a lieutenant's authority to suspend or recommend a
suspension given that no suspensions have been recommended by a lieutenant in the past
twenty or thirty years and the only recent suspensions have been taken on action of the
chief and/or captains.
The District argues that the lieutenants have the authority to reward their
subordinates through written commendations. However, there is no evidence that these
commendations have any effect on a firefighter's terms and conditions of employment
such that a commendation can be considered a reward as contemplated by the Act. The
District also asserts that the Ileutenants who head special teams have the authority to
recommend a firefighter to a special team which constitutes a reward. This
recommendation is dependent on the captain, serving as the training officer, having
approved the requisite training for the recommended firefighter and an evaluation of the
recommendation by that captain and the chief and deputy chief. There being no record
how this review proceeds and the fact that only two of the five lieutenants at issue are in
charge of a special team undercuts the District's claim that lieutenants in general have the
.authority to effectively recommend a reward with respect to special team appointments.
Transfer and Promotion
Lieutenants have no authority to transfer a firefighter except between fire stations
and then only for one shift. Given this and the fact that the transfer involves no change in
pay there is no significant change in a firefighter's tenus and conditions of employment
such that the transfer can be deemed an exercise of supervisory authority.
Lieutenants have a role in the promotional process in that they, along with
captains and the deputy chief, rank order promotional candidates which the chief then
averages to decide how many chief points to award each candidate. Even if this process
is the only one the chief uses to award points the fact that this is an effort of the
lieutenants, captains and· chiefs makes it difficult to assess the impact anyone
recommendation by a lieutenant has on the promotional opportunity of a firefighter.
Additionally, this impact is further diluted by the fact that chief points, in and of
themselves, are only a small part of the promotional process as compared to the
promotional examination. For these reasons, I do not find that the lieutenants' role in the
promotion process is so significant as to rise to an effective recommendation for
Lieutenants are the first step of the firefighter grievance procedure. As such, they
have the authority to adjust grievances regarding a firefighter not receiving a step
increase or not being credited with the correct number of hours as opposed to other
matters which are beyond a lieutenant's authority to adjust. The adjustment of these
relatively minor issues does not require any decision between two significant courses of
action but is either a decision based on unambiguous language in the collective
bargaining agreement or a routine bookkeeping procedure. Accordingly, the lieutenants
do not exercise supervisory authority to adjust grievances. Village of Elk Grove Village
and Illinois State Labor Relations Board, 245 Ill.App.3d 109, 613 N.E.2d 311 (2d Dist.
Hire and Discharge
The role lieutenants have in hiring is limited to supplying any information they
have about the qualifications of prospective new hires and to rate them as being
recommended or not recommended for hire. This information is given to the chief and
deputy chief who decide how much weight to give the information. A single lieutenant's
recommendation to hire or not hire an applicant is not accorded any particular weight but
all recommendations, including those of captains, are taken together. For this reason the
hiring role of the lieutenants is diffused especially in light of the chief and deputy chiefs
consideration in hiring and the ultimate decision to hire being vested in the Board of Fire
Commissioners. Therefore, the lieutenants have no significant authority in the hiring
process that meets the Act's supervisory criteria.
Regarding the lieutenants' authority to discharge they, along with captains,
evaluate a probationary firefighter at the end of the probation period and recommend to
the chief whether the firefighter should be discharged. The chief, however, does not
merely accept a discharge recommendation but conducts his own interviews of District
personnel abut a probationary employee's capabilities. This independent investigation by
the chief, along with the involvement of the captains in evaluating probationary
employees, renders the lieutenants' participation in the discharge decision as less than the
exercise of supervisory authority.
Preponderance of Time
Having found that the extent of the lieutenants' exercise of supervisory authority
within the meaning of the Act is limited to effective recommendations to issue oral and
written reprimands, the obvious conclusion is that they do not exercise supervisory
authority a preponderance of their working time. City of Freeport v. ISLRB, 135 Il1.2d
499, 6 PERI ~4019 (1990); Village of Elk Grove Village and Illinois State Labor
Relations Board, 245 Ill.App.3d 109,613 N.E.2d 311 (2d Dist. 1993).
V CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1) The petitioned-for lieutenants employed by the Greater Round Lake Fire
Protection District are not supervisors within the meaning of the Act.
2) It is appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining to include the
lieutenants employed by the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District in the
existing bargaining unit of firefighters presently represented by the Round Lake
Firefighters, International Association of Firefighters, Local 4235. 17
VI. RECOMMENDED ORDER
IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that a tally and certification be issued to
include the petitioned-for lieutenants in the existing bargaining unit firefighters employed
by the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District.
17 This finding does not include Lieutenant Murar who, in acting in the capacity of a shift commander, does
not hold a position the instant petition requested be included in the firefighter unit and whose shift
commander duties were not the subject of the instant proceeding. Should Lieutenant Murar at some point
assume only the duties of a station commander as presented in this case, his position should be included in
the bargaining unit.
Pursuant to Section 1200.135 of the Board's Rules, parties may file exceptions to
the Administrative Law Judge's Recommended Decision and Order and briefs in support
of those exceptions no later than 14 days after service of this Recommendation. Parties
may file responses to exceptions and briefs in support of the responses no later than 10
days after service of the exceptions. In such responses, parties that have not previously
filed exceptions may include cross-exceptions to any portion of the Administrative Law
Judge's Recommendation. Within 5 days from the filing of cross-exceptions, parties may
file cross-responses to the cross-exceptions. Exceptions, responses, cross-exceptions and
cross-responses must be filed with the Board's General Counsel at 160 North LaSalle
Street, Suite S-400, Chicago, Illinois 60601-3103, and served on all other parties. The
exceptions and/or cross-exceptions sent to the Board must contain a statement listing the
other parties to the case and verifying that the exceptions have been provided to them.
The exceptions and cross-exceptions will not be considered without this statement. If no
exceptions have been filed within the 30-day period, the parties will be deemed to have
waived their exceptions.
Issued at Chicago, Illinois on this 8th day of February, 2008.
STATE OF ILLINOIS
ILLINOIS LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
Philip M. Kazanjian
Administrative Law Judge
STATE OF ILLINOIS
ILLINOIS LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District,)
) Case No. S-RC-07-023
Round Lake Firefighters Union, )
International Association of Fire Fighters, )
Local 4235, )
MAILING February 8,2008
AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S RECOMMENDED
DECISION & ORDER
I, the undersigned employee of the Illinois· Labor Relations Board, certify that on the date
indicated above I served the above-entitled document(s) by post-paid certified mail upon the
following persons, addressed to them at the following addresses:
Mr. Stephen A. Yokich
CORNFIELD & FELDMAN
25 East Washington Street - Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60602
Mr. Karl R. Ottosen
OTTOSEN, BRITZ, KELLY, COOPER,
& GILBERT, Ltd.
1804 North Naper Blvd. - Suite 350
Naperville, IL 60563
d Agent - Illinois Labor Relations Board