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70 ILCS 705/16.13b

    (70 ILCS 705/16.13b) (from Ch. 127 1/2, par. 37.13b)
    Sec. 16.13b. Unless the employer and a labor organization have agreed to a contract provision providing for final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning the existence of just cause for disciplinary action, no officer or member of the fire department of any protection district who has held that position for one year shall be removed or discharged except for just cause, upon written charges specifying the complainant and the basis for the charges, and after a hearing on those charges before the board of fire commissioners, affording the officer or member an opportunity to be heard in his own defense. In such case the appointing authority shall file with the board of trustees the reasons for such removal or discharge, which removal or discharge shall not become effective unless confirmed by a majority vote of the board of trustees. If written charges are brought against an officer or member, the board of fire commissioners shall conduct a fair and impartial hearing of the charges, to be commenced within 30 days of the filing thereof, which hearing may be continued from time to time. The Chief of the department shall bear the burden of proving the guilt of the officer or member by a preponderance of the evidence. In case an officer or member is found guilty, the board may discharge him, or may suspend him not exceeding 30 calendar days without pay. The board may suspend any officer or member pending the hearing with or without pay, but in no event shall the suspension pending hearing and the ultimate suspension imposed on the officer or member, if any, exceed 30 calendar days without pay in the aggregate. If the board of fire commissioners determines that the charges are not sustained, the officer or member shall be reimbursed for all wages withheld or lost, if any. In the conduct of this hearing, each member of the board shall have power to secure by its subpoena both the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books and papers relevant to the hearing.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a probationary employment period may be extended beyond one year for a firefighter who is required as a condition of employment to be a licensed paramedic, during which time the sole reason that a firefighter may be discharged without a hearing is for failing to meet the requirements for paramedic licensure.
    The age for mandatory retirement of firemen in the service of any department of such district is 65 years, unless the board of trustees shall by ordinance provide for an earlier mandatory retirement age of not less than 60 years.
    The provisions of the Administrative Review Law, and all amendments and modifications thereof, and the rules adopted pursuant thereto, shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final administrative decisions of the board of fire commissioners hereunder. The term "administrative decision" is defined as in Section 3-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
    Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prevent the Chief of the fire department from suspending without pay a member of his department for a period of not more than 5 consecutive calendar days, but he shall notify the board in writing of such suspension. Any fireman so suspended may appeal to the board of fire commissioners for a review of the suspension within 5 calendar days after such suspension. Upon such appeal, the Chief of the department shall bear the burden of proof in establishing the guilt of the officer or member by a preponderance of the evidence. The board may sustain the action of the Chief of the department, may reduce the suspension to a lesser penalty, or may reverse it with instructions that the officer or member receive his pay and other benefits withheld for the period involved, or may suspend the officer for an additional period of not more than 30 days, or discharge him, depending upon the facts presented.
(Source: P.A. 98-973, eff. 8-15-14.)