PEORIA — An administrative law judge has recommended nearly a dozen firefighters be reinstated and the two rescue trucks taken off line last year be reinstated. This could cost the city upwards of $500,000.
“It’s about finding an amicable solution to solve some problems so that we are able to provide the level of care that we intend to, that we’ve all grown accustomed to, and that the tax base or the citizens of Peoria have said for years, time and time again, for excellent service with the Peoria Fire Department,” said Ryan Brady, president of Peoria Firefighters Local 50. “We always rank up there with services provided, and we want to continue to provide that.”
Peoria City Attorney Don Liest said the reasoning behind the decision was due to a error. Liest said notices were sent to an old email address, which was no longer in service.
The ruling by Matthew Nagy orders the city to:
- Restore the staffing levels of the Peoria Fire Department to levels it was before May 21, 2018, when a series of “brown-outs” were instated to help with budgetary issues.
- Compensate those who lost income by offering back pay to those who were eligible to work on the rescue squads.
- Resume bargaining with the local over staffing and work conditions.
This ruling could be seen as a win for the Peoria firefighters union, but it’s not a final decision.
“It’s unfortunate that it has to come to this,” said Brady. “Do I think that this is a landmark decision? Having a decision like this handed down is extremely encouraging. Obviously we’re trying to do what’s right for the fire department and what’s right for the community, but we know this isn’t the end of the road for us.”
Peoria City Attorney Don Liest told WMBD Friday that the document is just a recommended decision and order. The city intends to file excpetions to recommended decision. Liest also said that the city feels confident that the liberal relations board will decide in the city’s favor.