First, a contract in North Riverside

Opinion: Editorials

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The saga that is North Riverside's relationship to its firefighters and contracted paramedics is an epic fail. We're five years out from an actual contract between the village government and the unionized firefighters. Toss in the mountain of legal bills and the string of failures every time the village makes it to court or arbitration and you have to wonder what went wrong with common sense and compromise.

And, of course, the firefighters are not blameless in this mess either.

Maybe there is a small opening, though that opening seems to come with a long wide-open window. In November a majority of the village board seemed to agree to extend for five years an updated contract with Paramedic Services of Illinois to continue to provide paramedic services. That pact came with a promise that the village will engage in serious review of a proposal from Local 2714 to begin hiring permanent full- and part-time paramedics and gradually diminish reliance on contract hires through PSI.

Fire Chief John Kiser, who is wary of the constant carousel of PSI part-timers filling shifts, prudently suggests a task force of village staff, elected officials and firefighters to study this idea. We agree that getting all parties around a table is a good start for multiple reasons.

But first … first there has got to be a new contract with firefighters. There is no innovative, acceptable path forward so long as these unionized village employees are without a contract. We'd hope that, with frustration deep on both sides and an agreement to study the union proposal on paramedics, this could be the moment to compromise and settle this contract.

There won't be a better time.

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Reader Comments

6 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Dom Anthony Iovino  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 6:44 PM

Who is this uneducated individual that is putting blame on these gentlemen that did nothing more than fight for their jobs? If you want to , blame them for being Professional , outstanding, caring individuals who want to continue serving the residents of North Riverside as they always done without fail. Educate yourself whoever you are You've clearly been wearing a large pair of blinders I would LOVE to hear your misguided and extremely uneducated reasonings for blaming a group of hardworking individuals who strive for nothing more than to be the best Go on Tell me I'm sure you have tons of proof and reason to back up your ridiculous comment I mean why else would you have said it? Surely you must have something to back your claim? I'm going to guess not because the firefighters of the NRFD are not, were not, nor will they ever be at fault for the millions of wasted dollars spent on illegal actions towards them You my friend are in the dark Feel free to respond I'll be looking forward to this one

Chris Wilson  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 6:29 PM

So the editorial sounds like a campaign speech for the corrupt elected officials. How is the employee to blame? The courts have sided with them every step of the way. If they had any wrong doing it would have come out in the countless lawsuits. Why is the new Fire Chief being brought in to this. The village will run him out just as soon as he doesn't comply with the mayors marching orders. Just like the last two. The contract employees are just pawns in this entire scheme, sadly they don't get a voice. The residents of NR needs to wake up. The elected officials have let the tax base dwindle, spent millions of wasted taxpayer monies on illegally trying to get rid of employees and keep lining their pockets with a private industries campaign donations while in turn awarding a no bid contract well over $300,000.

Mike Bloom  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 5:34 PM

Please tell me how the firefighters are partially to blame for this? The village tried to illegally fire them and not bargain in good faith for a new contract. The union and firemen have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money fighting illegal activities of the village and protecting their livelihoods. The village officials have spent over a million dollars of tax money, which could have completely funded the pension fund they were complying is bankrupting the village. The elected officials have been given campaign donations from PSI over the last 5-10 years for a company to have a revolving door of employees. Also don't forget the million plus the village spent they also illegally fired several employees, 1 which was ordered back to work with back pay and interest by an arbitrator. If you look at everything from day 1 I would say the firemen have shown that they truly care about the residents of north riverside and the fire department. It has also been seen that the village officials could care less about their residents or its employees. Think about that next year when election time comes around. How much more is the village gonna force the taxpayers to pay for them to keep this insanity up. Also again don't forget every time the village has gone to court they have lost and are 0-23.

Adrienne Kribales from Berwyn  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 5:33 PM

Yes, please explain how the firefighters are to blame. They didn't ask for any of this.

David Rajk  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 5:30 PM

A question for the Landmark. As a North Riverside Firefighter what exactly am I to blame for???

Larry Karp from North Riverside, IL  

Posted: December 3rd, 2019 5:28 PM

I don't understand the unsubstantiated 2nd paragraph that reads: "And, of course, the firefighters are not blameless in this mess either". can the writer please elaborate how the firefighters are at fault. They are the ones that were issued pink slips and have had to fight for their jobs.

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