(70 ILCS 705/16.06c)
    Sec. 16.06c. Alternative procedure; original appointment; full-time firefighter.
    (a) Authority. The Joint Labor and Management Committee (JLMC), as defined in Section 50 of the Fire Department Promotion Act, may establish a community outreach program to market the profession of firefighter and firefighter-paramedic so as to ensure the pool of applicants recruited is of broad diversity and the highest quality.
    For the purposes of this Section, "firefighter" means any person who has been prior to, on, or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly appointed to a fire department or fire protection district or employed by a State university and sworn or commissioned to perform firefighter duties or paramedic duties, or both, except that the following persons are not included: part-time firefighters; auxiliary, reserve, or voluntary firefighters, including paid-on-call firefighters; clerks and dispatchers or other civilian employees of a fire department or fire protection district who are not routinely expected to perform firefighter duties; and elected officials.
    (b) Eligibility. Persons eligible for placement on the master register of eligibles shall consist of the following:
        Persons who have participated in and received a
    
passing total score on the mental aptitude, physical ability, and preference components of a regionally administered test based on the standards described in this Section. The standards for administering these tests and the minimum passing score required for placement on this list shall be as is set forth in this Section.
        Qualified candidates shall be listed on the master
    
register of eligibles in highest to lowest rank order based upon their test scores without regard to their date of examination. Candidates listed on the master register of eligibles shall be eligible for appointment for 2 years after the date of the certification of their final score on the register without regard to the date of their examination. After 2 years, the candidate's name shall be struck from the list.
        Any person currently employed as a full-time member
    
of a fire department or any person who has experienced a non-voluntary (and non-disciplinary) separation from the active workforce due to a reduction in the number of departmental officers, who was appointed pursuant to Division 1 of Article 10 of the Illinois Municipal Code, Division 2.1 of Article 10 of the Illinois Municipal Code, or the Fire Protection District Act, and who during the previous 24 months participated in and received a passing score on the physical ability and mental aptitude components of the test may request that his or her name be added to the master register. Any eligible person may be offered employment by a local commission under the same procedures as provided by this Section except that the apprenticeship period may be waived and the applicant may be immediately issued a certificate of original appointment by the local commission.
    (c) Qualifications for placement on register of eligibles. The purpose for establishing a master register of eligibles shall be to identify applicants who possess and demonstrate the mental aptitude and physical ability to perform the duties required of members of the fire department in order to provide the highest quality of service to the public. To this end, all applicants for original appointment to an affected fire department through examination conducted by the Joint Labor and Management Committee (JLMC) shall be subject to examination and testing which shall be public, competitive, and open to all applicants. Any examination and testing procedure utilized under subsection (e) of this Section shall be supported by appropriate validation evidence and shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws. Any subjective component of the testing must be administered by certified assessors. All qualifying and disqualifying factors applicable to examination processes for local commissions in this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly shall be applicable to persons participating in Joint Labor and Management Committee examinations unless specifically provided otherwise in this Section.
    Notice of the time, place, general scope, and fee of every JLMC examination shall be given by the JLMC or designated testing agency, as applicable, by a publication at least 30 days preceding the examination, in one or more newspapers published in the region, or if no newspaper is published therein, then in one or more newspapers with a general circulation within the region. The JLMC may publish the notice on the JLMC's Internet website. Additional notice of the examination may be given as the JLMC shall prescribe.
    (d) Examination and testing components for placement on register of eligibles. The examination and qualifying standards for placement on the master register of eligibles and employment shall be based on the following components: mental aptitude, physical ability, preferences, moral character, and health. The mental aptitude, physical ability, and preference components shall determine an applicant's qualification for and placement on the master register of eligibles. The consideration of an applicant's general moral character and health shall be administered on a pass-fail basis after a conditional offer of employment is made by a local commission.
    (e) Mental aptitude. Examination of an applicant's mental aptitude shall be based upon written examination and an applicant's prior experience demonstrating an aptitude for and commitment to service as a member of a fire department. Written examinations shall be practical in character and relate to those matters that fairly test the capacity of the persons examined to discharge the duties performed by members of a fire department. Written examinations shall be administered in a manner that ensures the security and accuracy of the scores achieved. Any subjective component of the testing must be administered by certified assessors. No person who does not possess a high school diploma or an equivalent high school education shall be placed on a register of eligibles. Local commissions may establish educational, emergency medical service licensure, and other pre-requisites for hire within their jurisdiction.
    (f) Physical ability. All candidates shall be required to undergo an examination of their physical ability to perform the essential functions included in the duties they may be called upon to perform as a member of a fire department. For the purposes of this Section, essential functions of the job are functions associated with duties that a firefighter may be called upon to perform in response to emergency calls. The frequency of the occurrence of those duties as part of the fire department's regular routine shall not be a controlling factor in the design of examination criteria or evolutions selected for testing. These physical examinations shall be open, competitive, and based on industry standards designed to test each applicant's physical abilities in each of the following dimensions:
        (1) Muscular strength to perform tasks and evolutions
    
that may be required in the performance of duties including grip strength, leg strength, and arm strength. Tests shall be conducted under anaerobic as well as aerobic conditions to test both the candidate's speed and endurance in performing tasks and evolutions. Tasks tested are to be based on industry standards developed by the JLMC by rule.
        (2) The ability to climb ladders, operate from
    
heights, walk or crawl in the dark along narrow and uneven surfaces, and operate in proximity to hazardous environments.
        (3) The ability to carry out critical,
    
time-sensitive, and complex problem solving during physical exertion in stressful and hazardous environments. The testing environment may be hot and dark with tightly enclosed spaces, flashing lights, sirens, and other distractions.
    The tests utilized to measure each applicant's capabilities in each of these dimensions may be tests based on industry standards currently in use or equivalent tests approved by the Joint Labor-Management Committee of the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
    (g) Scoring of examination components. The examination components shall be graded on a 100-point scale. A person's position on the master register of eligibles shall be determined by the person's score on the written examination, the person successfully passing the physical ability component, and the addition of any applicable preference points.
    Applicants who have achieved at least the minimum score as set by the JLMC on the written examination, and who successfully pass the physical ability examination shall be placed on the initial eligibility register. Minimum scores should be set by the JLMC so as to demonstrate a candidate's ability to perform the essential functions of the job. The minimum score set by the JLMC shall be supported by appropriate validation evidence and shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws. Applicable preference points shall be added to the written examination scores for all applicants who qualify for the initial eligibility register. Applicants who score at or above the minimum passing score as set by the JLMC, including any applicable preference points, shall be placed on the master register of eligibles by the JLMC.
    These persons shall take rank upon the register as candidates in the order of their relative excellence based on the highest to the lowest total points scored on the mental aptitude and physical ability components, plus any applicable preference points requested and verified by the JLMC, or approved testing agency.
    No more than 60 days after each examination, a revised master register of eligibles shall be posted by the JLMC showing the final grades of the candidates without reference to priority of time of examination.
    (h) Preferences. The board shall give military, education, and experience preference points to those who qualify for placement on the master register of eligibles, on the same basis as provided for examinations administered by a local commission.
    No person entitled to preference or credit shall be required to claim the credit before any examination held under the provisions of this Section. The preference shall be given after the posting or publication of the applicant's initial score at the request of the person before finalizing the scores from all applicants taking part in a JLMC examination. Candidates who are eligible for preference credit shall make a claim in writing within 10 days after the posting of the initial scores from any JLMC test or the claim shall be deemed waived. Once preference points are awarded, the candidates shall be certified to the master register in accordance with their final score including preference points.
    (i) Firefighter apprentice and firefighter-paramedic apprentice. The employment of an applicant to an apprentice position (including a currently employed full-time member of a fire department whose apprenticeship may be reduced or waived) shall be subject to the applicant passing the moral character standards and health examinations of the local commission. In addition, a local commission may require as a condition of employment that the applicant demonstrate current physical ability by either passing the local commission's approved physical ability examination, or by presenting proof of participating in and receiving a passing score on the physical ability component of a JLMC test within a period of up to 12 months before the date of the conditional offer of employment. Applicants shall be subject to the local commission's initial hire background review including criminal history, employment history, moral character, oral examination, and medical examinations which may include polygraph, psychological, and drug screening components, all on a pass-fail basis. The medical examinations must be conducted last, and may only be performed after a conditional offer of employment has been extended.
    (j) Selection from list. Any municipality or fire protection district that is a party to an intergovernmental agreement under the terms of which persons have been tested for placement on the master register of eligibles shall be entitled to offer employment to any person on the list irrespective of their ranking on the list. The offer of employment shall be to the position of firefighter apprentice or firefighter-paramedic apprentice.
    Applicants passing these tests may be employed as a firefighter apprentice or a firefighter-paramedic apprentice who shall serve an apprenticeship period of 12 months or less according to the terms and conditions of employment as the employing municipality or district offers, or as provided for under the terms of any collective bargaining agreement then in effect. The apprenticeship period is separate from the probationary period.
    Service during the apprenticeship period shall be on a probationary basis. During the apprenticeship period, the apprentice's training and performance shall be monitored and evaluated by a Joint Apprenticeship Committee.
    The Joint Apprenticeship Committee shall consist of 4 members who shall be regular members of the fire department with at least 10 years of full-time work experience as a firefighter or firefighter-paramedic. The fire chief and the president of the exclusive bargaining representative recognized by the employer shall each appoint 2 members to the Joint Apprenticeship Committee. In the absence of an exclusive collective bargaining representative, the chief shall appoint the remaining 2 members who shall be from the ranks of company officer and firefighter with at least 10 years of work experience as a firefighter or firefighter-paramedic. In the absence of a sufficient number of qualified firefighters, the Joint Apprenticeship Committee members shall have the amount of experience and the type of qualifications as is reasonable given the circumstances of the fire department. In the absence of a full-time member in a rank between chief and the highest rank in a bargaining unit, the Joint Apprenticeship Committee shall be reduced to 2 members, one to be appointed by the chief and one by the union president, if any. If there is no exclusive bargaining representative, the chief shall appoint the second member of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee from among qualified members in the ranks of company officer and below. Before the conclusion of the apprenticeship period, the Joint Apprenticeship Committee shall meet to consider the apprentice's progress and performance and vote to retain the apprentice as a member of the fire department or to terminate the apprenticeship. If 3 of the 4 members of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee affirmatively vote to retain the apprentice (if a 2 member Joint Apprenticeship Committee exists, then both members must affirmatively vote to retain the apprentice), the local commission shall issue the apprentice a certificate of original appointment to the fire department.
    (k) A person who knowingly divulges or receives test questions or answers before a written examination, or otherwise knowingly violates or subverts any requirement of this Section, commits a violation of this Section and may be subject to charges for official misconduct.
    A person who is the knowing recipient of test information in advance of the examination shall be disqualified from the examination or discharged from the position to which he or she was appointed, as applicable, and otherwise subjected to disciplinary actions.
(Source: P.A. 97-251, eff. 8-4-11; 97-898, eff. 8-6-12; 98-760, eff. 7-16-14.)