Fire battalion chief terminated

 
Posted12/16/2014 5:30 AM

After months of disciplinary proceedings, Carol Stream Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Joseph Gilles has been terminated.

On Monday, the district's board of trustees voted unanimously to confirm the board of commissioners' earlier recommendation to terminate Gilles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Gilles' hearing had centered on Fire Chief Richard Kolomay's allegations that Gilles failed to follow orders to sign a performance improvement plan.

The plan outlined core issues with Gilles, including that he does not have the proper management and leadership skills, as well as goals for the battalion chief.

By not signing the plan, Gilles violated four rules of conduct, according to the allegations.

During the hearing, Gilles' attorneys argued that Gilles was never ordered to sign the plan, and that even if he was, that order would have been unlawful.

They also have argued that Gilles fell out of favor with district superiors when he was asked to investigate possible acts of negligence by a paramedic involved in a 2012 incident call for a woman choking. The woman died a couple of days later.

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But the district's board of commissioners upheld the charges of misconduct earlier this year. Among its findings, the commissioners found that the chief did order Gilles to sign the performance plan and that the plan was a lawful order, according to board documents.

Although the board of commissioners recommended Gilles to be terminated, the district's board of trustees had to confirm the recommended decision.

"Well they obviously wanted to send a message and they wanted to send the message that anybody who disagrees with the chief, anybody who will attempt to expose any kind of wrongdoing will be severely dealt with and that message was (sent) loud and clear," Gilles said after hearing the trustees' Monday decision.

After the board's decision was announced, some attendees, many of whom were Gilles' family members, spoke up on his behalf.

"The (Carol Stream Fire Protection District) says...pride, duty and tradition are key attributes of the organization," his sister, Theresa Gilles, said. "Yet today you terminated a member, a leader, of your team, who is ethical, has integrity, shows respect for others, is dedicated to the team, the community, to learning and to teaching."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"...There is no pride in hidden agendas...there is no duty when there are attempts to humiliate team members to the public, their subordinates and others within the organization..." his sister added.

Karl Ottosen, an attorney for Kolomay, said Joseph Gilles decided to not follow orders.

"As far as the public comment part of this, (Joseph) Gilles made the decision to refuse to follow orders, no one else," Ottosen said.

"And the chief begged him to sit down and talk to him about how to save his career and (Joseph) looked at him and said no."

John Botti, an attorney for Gilles, said they will be appealing the decision with the circuit court.

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