Mundelein reverses changes to fire department command staff

  • The Mundelein Fire Department will gain two shift lieutenants under an agreement with the firefighters' union approved Monday. The deal settles a complaint firefighters made to the Illinois Labor Relations Board in 2018 over a command structure shake-up.

      The Mundelein Fire Department will gain two shift lieutenants under an agreement with the firefighters' union approved Monday. The deal settles a complaint firefighters made to the Illinois Labor Relations Board in 2018 over a command structure shake-up. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/13/2020 1:58 PM

The Mundelein Fire Department will gain two shift lieutenants under a deal that settles complaints over a 2018 command staff restructuring.

The deal, approved by the village board Monday, reverses the changes made in that controversial shuffling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Under the arrangement, the department will have six lieutenants, up from four.

Additionally, the number of full-time firefighters will drop from 20 to 18. To accomplish that, two firefighters will be promoted to lieutenant, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.

The agreement is effective immediately.

The village board enacted the 2018 organizational changes after officials said the fire department was top heavy. The changes left two supervisors to manage six firefighters per shift, as well as administrative officers.

The reorganization was expected to save the village about $149,000 annually in salary and overtime cost reductions.

The changes had many opponents, including former Chief Tim Sashko and former Deputy Fire Marshal Mark Gaunky.

The International Association of Firefighters Local 4786, which represents the firefighters, filed formal complaints with the Illinois Labor Relations Board in 2018 and 2019 over the command staff shake-up. It said the changes violated a 2017 labor agreement between the union and the village.

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The changes approved Monday settle those complaints.

In related action Monday, the board separately approved a four-year labor contract with the firefighters' union that'll last through April 2023.

All firefighter-paramedics and lieutenants will receive .67% raises that are retroactively effective May 1.

Additionally, they'll receive 2.25% cost-of-living increases retroactive to May 1, 2.25% raises in May 2021 and 2.5% raises in May 2022.

The new starting salary for a Mundelein firefighter will be $71,539 annually. The new average salary will be about $86,000 annually.

As part of the agreement, the fire department will be able to hire up to six additional firefighter-paramedics through an independent company, Metro Paramedic Services. The department employs six firefighters from that company now.

Hiring additional firefighters reduces departmental overtime costs, Lobaito said. Hirings made over the last two years could save the village more than $500,000 in annual overtime costs, he added.

It also saves the village nearly $3 million in lifetime pension obligations per firefighter, Lobaito said.

Mayor Steve Lentz thanked Lobaito and firefighter Brett Clark, the union president, for their work during negotiations.

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