Letter to the editor: Glenview village president, trustees response to firefighters union letter
The Village of Glenview President and Trustees are extremely disappointed to have received a letter from Glenview Firefighters Local 4186 containing inaccurate allegations and personal attacks, which was also disseminated online and via social media.
In the President and Trustees' opinion, the union's aggressive opposition to any recommended changes in how the Fire Department can be more effectively and efficiently organized goes beyond how any professional employees should work with their managers regarding operational changes. Resorting to personal attacks on Fire Department leadership and the Village Manager is simply not conducive to resolving operational differences of opinion. It is important to note that the Village's professional staff were directed by the board of trustees to identify new options to maintain public safety throughout the Village while ensuring that the Fire Department spends taxpayer dollars wisely.
"We are discouraged to see this and other tactics used by the union," Village Board President Jim Patterson stated. "Unfortunately, such personal attacks are a common union strategy to try to gain leverage over an employer and prevent changes that its members oppose or fear threaten their self-interest."
The union's letter comprised false and misleading claims and inaccuracies. For example, it alleges the Fire Department had no plan or response protocol for the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, a written coronavirus response plan was in place by April 2020, along with Villagewide COVID response priorities, and the Village did extensive contact tracing of employee cases throughout all Village departments. The Village was also the first municipality in Illinois to mandate face coverings in order to protect our first responders and residents from the spread of COVID-19. These and other personal attacks are defamatory and warrant no response.
"We expect Village administrators to continue to follow the Board's directive to evaluate options to improve emergency response services in the Village and maintain residents' safety as a top priority," Patterson stated. "Our professional staff are doing their jobs to keep Village residents safe and are acting responsibly to identify public safety improvements."
After reconsidering closing Fire Station 13, the Village Board on March 8, 2021 instructed Village Manager Matt Formica and Fire Chief Tony DeRose to continue pursuing opportunities to improve Fire Department operations. Using findings from the report by public safety consultants Fitch & Associates, the goal is to bring more efficiencies and better align department
operations to respond to the community's increasing medical emergency calls.
Patterson added: "The Board is committed to providing the facts and representing the public's interest in responsibly managing Village resources. As we continually evaluate and assess public safety improvements, we are confident that we will return to the kind of collaborative process we've had in the past with the firefighters' union. It will take putting self-interest aside to
pursue together a responsible path forward."
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT: The Glenview Village President and each of the Village Trustees has full faith and confidence in the leadership skills and professional judgment of Matt Formica, Village Manager; Tony DeRose, Fire Chief; Mike Rutkowski, Deputy Fire Chief; and every professional staff member of the Village's Leadership Team.
President James R. Patterson, Jr.
Trustee Mary W. Cooper
Trustee Chuck Gitles
Trustee John Hinkamp
Trustee Michael Jenny
Trustee Deborah Karton
Trustee Karim Khoja