Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB3518
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Full Text of SB3518  98th General Assembly




State of Illinois
2013 and 2014


Introduced 2/14/2014, by Sen. Daniel Biss


65 ILCS 5/10-2.1-6.3

    Amends the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that any applicable preference credits to a firefighter candidate shall be applied at the time of the written examination and before the posting or publication of the initial eligibility list or register.

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SB3518LRB098 15907 JLK 55396 b

1    AN ACT concerning local government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Illinois Municipal Code is amended by
5changing Section 10-2.1-6.3 as follows:
6    (65 ILCS 5/10-2.1-6.3)
7    Sec. 10-2.1-6.3. Original appointments; full-time fire
9    (a) Applicability. Unless a commission elects to follow the
10provisions of Section 10-2.1-6.4, this Section shall apply to
11all original appointments to an affected full-time fire
12department. Existing registers of eligibles shall continue to
13be valid until their expiration dates, or up to a maximum of 2
14years after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the
1597th General Assembly.
16    Notwithstanding any statute, ordinance, rule, or other law
17to the contrary, all original appointments to an affected
18department to which this Section applies shall be administered
19in the manner provided for in this Section. Provisions of the
20Illinois Municipal Code, municipal ordinances, and rules
21adopted pursuant to such authority and other laws relating to
22initial hiring of firefighters in affected departments shall
23continue to apply to the extent they are compatible with this



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1Section, but in the event of a conflict between this Section
2and any other law, this Section shall control.
3    A home rule or non-home rule municipality may not
4administer its fire department process for original
5appointments in a manner that is less stringent than this
6Section. This Section is a limitation under subsection (i) of
7Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution on the
8concurrent exercise by home rule units of the powers and
9functions exercised by the State.
10    A municipality that is operating under a court order or
11consent decree regarding original appointments to a full-time
12fire department before the effective date of this amendatory
13Act of the 97th General Assembly is exempt from the
14requirements of this Section for the duration of the court
15order or consent decree.
16    Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection
17(a), this Section does not apply to a municipality with more
18than 1,000,000 inhabitants.
19    (b) Original appointments. All original appointments made
20to an affected fire department shall be made from a register of
21eligibles established in accordance with the processes
22established by this Section. Only persons who meet or exceed
23the performance standards required by this Section shall be
24placed on a register of eligibles for original appointment to
25an affected fire department.
26    Whenever an appointing authority authorizes action to hire



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1a person to perform the duties of a firefighter or to hire a
2firefighter-paramedic to fill a position that is a new position
3or vacancy due to resignation, discharge, promotion, death, the
4granting of a disability or retirement pension, or any other
5cause, the appointing authority shall appoint to that position
6the person with the highest ranking on the final eligibility
7list. If the appointing authority has reason to conclude that
8the highest ranked person fails to meet the minimum standards
9for the position or if the appointing authority believes an
10alternate candidate would better serve the needs of the
11department, then the appointing authority has the right to pass
12over the highest ranked person and appoint either: (i) any
13person who has a ranking in the top 5% of the register of
14eligibles or (ii) any person who is among the top 5 highest
15ranked persons on the list of eligibles if the number of people
16who have a ranking in the top 5% of the register of eligibles
17is less than 5 people.
18    Any candidate may pass on an appointment once without
19losing his or her position on the register of eligibles. Any
20candidate who passes a second time may be removed from the list
21by the appointing authority provided that such action shall not
22prejudice a person's opportunities to participate in future
23examinations, including an examination held during the time a
24candidate is already on the municipality's register of
26    The sole authority to issue certificates of appointment



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1shall be vested in the board of fire and police commissioners.
2All certificates of appointment issued to any officer or member
3of an affected department shall be signed by the chairperson
4and secretary, respectively, of the board upon appointment of
5such officer or member to the affected department by action of
6the board. Each person who accepts a certificate of appointment
7and successfully completes his or her probationary period shall
8be enrolled as a firefighter and as a regular member of the
9fire department.
10    For the purposes of this Section, "firefighter" means any
11person who has been prior to, on, or after the effective date
12of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly appointed
13to a fire department or fire protection district or employed by
14a State university and sworn or commissioned to perform
15firefighter duties or paramedic duties, or both, except that
16the following persons are not included: part-time
17firefighters; auxiliary, reserve, or voluntary firefighters,
18including paid-on-call firefighters; clerks and dispatchers or
19other civilian employees of a fire department or fire
20protection district who are not routinely expected to perform
21firefighter duties; and elected officials.
22    (c) Qualification for placement on register of eligibles.
23The purpose of establishing a register of eligibles is to
24identify applicants who possess and demonstrate the mental
25aptitude and physical ability to perform the duties required of
26members of the fire department in order to provide the highest



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1quality of service to the public. To this end, all applicants
2for original appointment to an affected fire department shall
3be subject to examination and testing which shall be public,
4competitive, and open to all applicants unless the municipality
5shall by ordinance limit applicants to residents of the
6municipality, county or counties in which the municipality is
7located, State, or nation. Municipalities may establish
8educational, emergency medical service licensure, and other
9pre-requisites for participation in an examination or for hire
10as a firefighter. Any municipality may charge a fee to cover
11the costs of the application process.
12    Residency requirements in effect at the time an individual
13enters the fire service of a municipality cannot be made more
14restrictive for that individual during his or her period of
15service for that municipality, or be made a condition of
16promotion, except for the rank or position of fire chief and
17for no more than 2 positions that rank immediately below that
18of the chief rank which are appointed positions pursuant to the
19Fire Department Promotion Act.
20    No person who is 35 years of age or older shall be eligible
21to take an examination for a position as a firefighter unless
22the person has had previous employment status as a firefighter
23in the regularly constituted fire department of the
24municipality, except as provided in this Section. The age
25limitation does not apply to:
26        (1) any person previously employed as a full-time



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1    firefighter in a regularly constituted fire department of
2    (i) any municipality or fire protection district located in
3    Illinois, (ii) a fire protection district whose
4    obligations were assumed by a municipality under Section 21
5    of the Fire Protection District Act, or (iii) a
6    municipality whose obligations were taken over by a fire
7    protection district, or
8        (2) any person who has served a municipality as a
9    regularly enrolled volunteer, paid-on-call, or part-time
10    firefighter for the 5 years immediately preceding the time
11    that the municipality begins to use full-time firefighters
12    to provide all or part of its fire protection service.
13    No person who is under 21 years of age shall be eligible
14for employment as a firefighter.
15    No applicant shall be examined concerning his or her
16political or religious opinions or affiliations. The
17examinations shall be conducted by the commissioners of the
18municipality or their designees and agents.
19    No municipality shall require that any firefighter
20appointed to the lowest rank serve a probationary employment
21period of longer than one year of actual active employment,
22which may exclude periods of training, or injury or illness
23leaves, including duty related leave, in excess of 30 calendar
24days. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section,
25the probationary employment period limitation may be extended
26for a firefighter who is required, as a condition of



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1employment, to be a certified paramedic, during which time the
2sole reason that a firefighter may be discharged without a
3hearing is for failing to meet the requirements for paramedic
5    In the event that any applicant who has been found eligible
6for appointment and whose name has been placed upon the final
7eligibility register provided for in this Section has not been
8appointed to a firefighter position within one year after the
9date of his or her physical ability examination, the commission
10may cause a second examination to be made of that applicant's
11physical ability prior to his or her appointment. If, after the
12second examination, the physical ability of the applicant shall
13be found to be less than the minimum standard fixed by the
14rules of the commission, the applicant shall not be appointed.
15The applicant's name may be retained upon the register of
16candidates eligible for appointment and when next reached for
17certification and appointment that applicant may be again
18examined as provided in this Section, and if the physical
19ability of that applicant is found to be less than the minimum
20standard fixed by the rules of the commission, the applicant
21shall not be appointed, and the name of the applicant shall be
22removed from the register.
23    (d) Notice, examination, and testing components. Notice of
24the time, place, general scope, merit criteria for any
25subjective component, and fee of every examination shall be
26given by the commission, by a publication at least 2 weeks



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1preceding the examination: (i) in one or more newspapers
2published in the municipality, or if no newspaper is published
3therein, then in one or more newspapers with a general
4circulation within the municipality, or (ii) on the
5municipality's Internet website. Additional notice of the
6examination may be given as the commission shall prescribe.
7    The examination and qualifying standards for employment of
8firefighters shall be based on: mental aptitude, physical
9ability, preferences, moral character, and health. The mental
10aptitude, physical ability, and preference components shall
11determine an applicant's qualification for and placement on the
12final register of eligibles. The examination may also include a
13subjective component based on merit criteria as determined by
14the commission. Scores from the examination must be made
15available to the public.
16    (e) Mental aptitude. No person who does not possess at
17least a high school diploma or an equivalent high school
18education shall be placed on a register of eligibles.
19Examination of an applicant's mental aptitude shall be based
20upon a written examination. The examination shall be practical
21in character and relate to those matters that fairly test the
22capacity of the persons examined to discharge the duties
23performed by members of a fire department. Written examinations
24shall be administered in a manner that ensures the security and
25accuracy of the scores achieved.
26    (f) Physical ability. All candidates shall be required to



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1undergo an examination of their physical ability to perform the
2essential functions included in the duties they may be called
3upon to perform as a member of a fire department. For the
4purposes of this Section, essential functions of the job are
5functions associated with duties that a firefighter may be
6called upon to perform in response to emergency calls. The
7frequency of the occurrence of those duties as part of the fire
8department's regular routine shall not be a controlling factor
9in the design of examination criteria or evolutions selected
10for testing. These physical examinations shall be open,
11competitive, and based on industry standards designed to test
12each applicant's physical abilities in the following
14        (1) Muscular strength to perform tasks and evolutions
15    that may be required in the performance of duties including
16    grip strength, leg strength, and arm strength. Tests shall
17    be conducted under anaerobic as well as aerobic conditions
18    to test both the candidate's speed and endurance in
19    performing tasks and evolutions. Tasks tested may be based
20    on standards developed, or approved, by the local
21    appointing authority.
22        (2) The ability to climb ladders, operate from heights,
23    walk or crawl in the dark along narrow and uneven surfaces,
24    and operate in proximity to hazardous environments.
25        (3) The ability to carry out critical, time-sensitive,
26    and complex problem solving during physical exertion in



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1    stressful and hazardous environments. The testing
2    environment may be hot and dark with tightly enclosed
3    spaces, flashing lights, sirens, and other distractions.
4    The tests utilized to measure each applicant's
5capabilities in each of these dimensions may be tests based on
6industry standards currently in use or equivalent tests
7approved by the Joint Labor-Management Committee of the Office
8of the State Fire Marshal.
9    Physical ability examinations administered under this
10Section shall be conducted with a reasonable number of proctors
11and monitors, open to the public, and subject to reasonable
12regulations of the commission.
13    (g) Scoring of examination components. Appointing
14authorities may create a preliminary eligibility register. A
15person shall be placed on the list based upon his or her
16passage of the written examination and any applicable
17preference credits or the passage of the written examination,
18any applicable preference credits, and the physical ability
19component. Passage of the written examination means a score
20that is at or above the median score for all applicants
21participating in the written test after adding any applicable
22preference credits as described in subsection (h). The
23appointing authority may conduct the physical ability
24component and any subjective components subsequent to the
25posting of the preliminary eligibility register.
26    The examination components for an initial eligibility



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1register shall be graded on a 100-point scale. A person's
2position on the list shall be determined by the following: (i)
3the person's score on the written examination, (ii) the person
4successfully passing the physical ability component, and (iii)
5the person's results on any subjective component as described
6in subsection (d), and (iv) any applicable preference credits
7as described in subsection (h).
8    In order to qualify for placement on the final eligibility
9register, an applicant's score on the written examination,
10after before any applicable preference points or subjective
11points are applied, shall be at or above the median score. The
12local appointing authority may prescribe the score to qualify
13for placement on the final eligibility register, but the score
14shall not be less than the median score.
15    The commission shall prepare and keep a register of persons
16whose total score is not less than the minimum fixed by this
17Section and who have passed the physical ability examination.
18These persons shall take rank upon the register as candidates
19in the order of their relative excellence based on the highest
20to the lowest total points scored on the mental aptitude,
21subjective component, and preference components of the test
22administered in accordance with this Section. No more than 60
23days after each examination, an initial eligibility list shall
24be posted by the commission. The list shall include the final
25grades of the candidates without reference to priority of the
26time of examination and subject to claim for preference credit.



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1    Commissions may conduct additional examinations, including
2without limitation a polygraph test, after a final eligibility
3register is established and before it expires with the
4candidates ranked by total score without regard to date of
5examination. No more than 60 days after each examination, an
6initial eligibility list shall be posted by the commission
7showing the final grades of the candidates without reference to
8priority of time of examination and subject to claim for
9preference credit.
10    (h) Preferences. The following are preferences:
11        (1) Veteran preference. Persons who were engaged in the
12    military service of the United States for a period of at
13    least one year of active duty and who were honorably
14    discharged therefrom, or who are now or have been members
15    on inactive or reserve duty in such military or naval
16    service, shall be preferred for appointment to and
17    employment with the fire department of an affected
18    department.
19        (2) Fire cadet preference. Persons who have
20    successfully completed 2 years of study in fire techniques
21    or cadet training within a cadet program established under
22    the rules of the Joint Labor and Management Committee
23    (JLMC), as defined in Section 50 of the Fire Department
24    Promotion Act, may be preferred for appointment to and
25    employment with the fire department.
26        (3) Educational preference. Persons who have



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1    successfully obtained an associate's degree in the field of
2    fire service or emergency medical services, or a bachelor's
3    degree from an accredited college or university may be
4    preferred for appointment to and employment with the fire
5    department.
6        (4) Paramedic preference. Persons who have obtained
7    certification as an Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic
8    (EMT-P) shall be preferred for appointment to and
9    employment with the fire department of an affected
10    department providing emergency medical services.
11        (5) Experience preference. All persons employed by a
12    municipality who have been paid-on-call or part-time
13    certified Firefighter II, State of Illinois or nationally
14    licensed EMT-B or EMT-I, or any combination of those
15    capacities shall be awarded 0.5 point for each year of
16    successful service in one or more of those capacities, up
17    to a maximum of 5 points. Certified Firefighter III and
18    State of Illinois or nationally licensed paramedics shall
19    be awarded one point per year up to a maximum of 5 points.
20    Applicants from outside the municipality who were employed
21    as full-time firefighters or firefighter-paramedics by a
22    fire protection district or another municipality for at
23    least 2 years shall be awarded 5 experience preference
24    points. These additional points presuppose a rating scale
25    totaling 100 points available for the eligibility list. If
26    more or fewer points are used in the rating scale for the



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1    eligibility list, the points awarded under this subsection
2    shall be increased or decreased by a factor equal to the
3    total possible points available for the examination
4    divided by 100.
5        Upon request by the commission, the governing body of
6    the municipality or in the case of applicants from outside
7    the municipality the governing body of any fire protection
8    district or any other municipality shall certify to the
9    commission, within 10 days after the request, the number of
10    years of successful paid-on-call, part-time, or full-time
11    service of any person. A candidate may not receive the full
12    amount of preference points under this subsection if the
13    amount of points awarded would place the candidate before a
14    veteran on the eligibility list. If more than one candidate
15    receiving experience preference points is prevented from
16    receiving all of their points due to not being allowed to
17    pass a veteran, the candidates shall be placed on the list
18    below the veteran in rank order based on the totals
19    received if all points under this subsection were to be
20    awarded. Any remaining ties on the list shall be determined
21    by lot.
22        (6) Residency preference. Applicants whose principal
23    residence is located within the fire department's
24    jurisdiction shall be preferred for appointment to and
25    employment with the fire department.
26        (7) Additional preferences. Up to 5 additional



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1    preference points may be awarded for unique categories
2    based on an applicant's experience or background as
3    identified by the commission.
4        (8) Scoring of preferences. The commission shall give
5    preference for original appointment to persons designated
6    in item (1) by adding to the written examination score
7    final grade that they receive 5 points for the recognized
8    preference achieved. The commission shall determine the
9    number of preference points for each category except (1).
10    The number of preference points for each category shall
11    range from 0 to 5. In determining the number of preference
12    points, the commission shall prescribe that if a candidate
13    earns the maximum number of preference points in all
14    categories, that number may not be less than 10 nor more
15    than 30. The commission shall give preference for original
16    appointment to persons designated in items (2) through (7)
17    by adding the requisite number of points to the written
18    examination score final grade for each recognized
19    preference achieved. The numerical result thus attained
20    shall be applied by the commission in determining the
21    preliminary, initial, and final eligibility lists list and
22    appointment from the eligibility list. The local
23    appointing authority may prescribe the total number of
24    preference points awarded under this Section, but the total
25    number of preference points shall not be less than 10
26    points or more than 30 points.



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1    A candidate may not receive the full amount of preference
2points under this subsection if the amount of points awarded
3would place the candidate before a veteran on the eligibility
4list. If more than one candidate receiving experience
5preference points is prevented from receiving all of their
6points due to not being allowed to pass a veteran, the
7candidates shall be placed on the list below the veteran in
8rank order based on the totals received if all points under
9this subsection were to be awarded.
10    Persons No person entitled to any preference shall be
11required to claim the credit before any examination held under
12the provisions of this Section, but the preference shall be
13given before after the posting or publication of the initial
14eligibility list or register, and at the request of a person
15entitled to a credit before any certification or appointments
16are made from the eligibility register, upon the furnishing of
17verifiable evidence and proof of qualifying preference credit.
18Candidates who are eligible for preference credit shall make a
19claim in writing within 10 days after the posting of the
20initial eligibility list, or the claim shall be deemed waived.
21Preliminary, initial, and final Final eligibility registers
22shall be established after the awarding of verified preference
23points. All employment shall be subject to the commission's
24initial hire background review including, but not limited to,
25criminal history, employment history, moral character, oral
26examination, and medical and psychological examinations, all



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1on a pass-fail basis. The medical and psychological
2examinations must be conducted last, and may only be performed
3after a conditional offer of employment has been extended.
4    Any person placed on an eligibility list who exceeds the
5age requirement before being appointed to a fire department
6shall remain eligible for appointment until the list is
7abolished, or his or her name has been on the list for a period
8of 2 years. No person who has attained the age of 35 years
9shall be inducted into a fire department, except as otherwise
10provided in this Section.
11    The commission shall strike off the names of candidates for
12original appointment after the names have been on the list for
13more than 2 years.
14    (i) Moral character. No person shall be appointed to a fire
15department unless he or she is a person of good character; not
16a habitual drunkard, a gambler, or a person who has been
17convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
18However, no person shall be disqualified from appointment to
19the fire department because of the person's record of
20misdemeanor convictions except those under Sections 11-6,
2111-7, 11-9, 11-14, 11-15, 11-17, 11-18, 11-19, 12-2, 12-6,
2212-15, 14-4, 16-1, 21.1-3, 24-3.1, 24-5, 25-1, 28-3, 31-1,
2331-4, 31-6, 31-7, 32-1, 32-2, 32-3, 32-4, 32-8, and subsections
241, 6, and 8 of Section 24-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 or the
25Criminal Code of 2012, or arrest for any cause without
26conviction thereon. Any such person who is in the department



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1may be removed on charges brought for violating this subsection
2and after a trial as hereinafter provided.
3    A classifiable set of the fingerprints of every person who
4is offered employment as a certificated member of an affected
5fire department whether with or without compensation, shall be
6furnished to the Illinois Department of State Police and to the
7Federal Bureau of Investigation by the commission.
8    Whenever a commission is authorized or required by law to
9consider some aspect of criminal history record information for
10the purpose of carrying out its statutory powers and
11responsibilities, then, upon request and payment of fees in
12conformance with the requirements of Section 2605-400 of the
13State Police Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois,
14the Department of State Police is authorized to furnish,
15pursuant to positive identification, the information contained
16in State files as is necessary to fulfill the request.
17    (j) Temporary appointments. In order to prevent a stoppage
18of public business, to meet extraordinary exigencies, or to
19prevent material impairment of the fire department, the
20commission may make temporary appointments, to remain in force
21only until regular appointments are made under the provisions
22of this Division, but never to exceed 60 days. No temporary
23appointment of any one person shall be made more than twice in
24any calendar year.
25    (k) A person who knowingly divulges or receives test
26questions or answers before a written examination, or otherwise



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1knowingly violates or subverts any requirement of this Section,
2commits a violation of this Section and may be subject to
3charges for official misconduct.
4    A person who is the knowing recipient of test information
5in advance of the examination shall be disqualified from the
6examination or discharged from the position to which he or she
7was appointed, as applicable, and otherwise subjected to
8disciplinary actions.
9(Source: P.A. 97-251, eff. 8-4-11; 97-898, eff. 8-6-12;
1097-1150, eff. 1-25-13.)