Illinois Supreme Court agrees to hear City of Peoria appeal on Local 50 Union benefits funding

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A longstanding argument involving Peoria Firefighters Local 50 Union and the City of Peoria is heading to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The case will discuss, “the City’s authority to adopt an ordinance that defines the terms ‘catastrophic injury,’ ‘injury’ and ‘gainful work’ under the Public Safety Employee Benefits Act (PSEBA), which was invalidated in an earlier decision by the lower courts.”

The case has the potential to give municipalities the authority to determine the specific parameters that will govern how benefits are awarded in given communities. In 2017, IML drafted a PSEBA model ordinance for its members to consider and the City of Peoria subsequently adopted it with its own specifications attached.

Ryan Brady, President of firefighters’ Local 50 Union, said the ordinance placed in 2018 is “kind of a slap in the face to firefighters,” and is not beneficial.

“When you’re hurt, the city’s basically saying well, if we can change the definition of your injury and you can be gainfully employed elsewhere, we don’t have to pay your insurance benefits,” Brady said.

Familiar with the long history of the case and the city’s appeal, Third District Council Member, Tim Riggenbach, says they haven’t seen the ordinance prevent injured firefighters from receiving benefits for them or their family.

“This wasn’t a vindictive move, it was a move asking for clarity,” Riggenbach said.

He says this ordinance is about making sure the benefits go to those who need it.

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