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Local News

Commission OKs Joliet firefighter promotions

Herb Lande, chairman of Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, speaks to Fire Chief Joe Formhals on  Monday, April 8, 2019, in Joliet, Ill.
Herb Lande, chairman of Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, speaks to Fire Chief Joe Formhals on Monday, April 8, 2019, in Joliet, Ill.

The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners on Tuesday approved fire department promotions without getting the personnel files that members said they wanted to review before making a decision.

But Commissioner Todd Wooten said afterward he would again pursue access to personnel files when the board considers promotions in the future. A review of the files would assure commissioners that there were no disciplinary actions that should be considered, he said.

“Even if we’re barred by the state statute, we should have access to everything in their files,” Wooten said.

State statute prohibits the city human resources department from turning over personnel files to the commission, said Kathy Franson, director of human resources.

“But I reviewed [the files] and the [fire] chief reviewed the files,” Franson said.

“If there was anything in the files that I thought would cause them not to do the job, I would bring it up,” Chief Joseph Formhals said.

The fire and police board voted at its July 8 meeting to hold off on the promotions until it received copies of the files. The board reconvened at a special meeting Tuesday to consider the promotions again.

Chairman Herb Lande said he was assured by Franson that there was nothing in the files to prevent the promotions.

The promotions fill vacancies created by retirements.

To fill vacancies created by the retirement of Battalion Chief Mike Stromberg, Capt. Fred Offerman was promoted to battalion chief; Lt. Dan Berta was made captain; and apparatus operator paramedic Mike Stapp was made lieutenant.

To fill vacancies that will be created when Battalion Chief Terry Mangun retires in August, Capt. James Blake will be promoted to battalion chief; Lt. John Miller will become a captain; and firefighter/paramedic Stephen Rutten will become a lieutenant.

To fill vacancies created with the retirement of Capt. Marty Blackburn, Lt. James Batusich was made captain and apparatus operator/paramedic Richard Netcel was promoted to lieutenant.

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