Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of Public Act 098-0995
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Public Act 098-0995





Public Act 098-0995
HB4741 EnrolledLRB098 16875 JLK 51948 b

    AN ACT concerning local government.
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
    Section 5. The Fire Protection District Act is amended by
changing Section 16.06b as follows:
    (70 ILCS 705/16.06b)
    Sec. 16.06b. Original appointments; full-time fire
    (a) Applicability. Unless a commission elects to follow the
provisions of Section 16.06c, this Section shall apply to all
original appointments to an affected full-time fire
department. Existing registers of eligibles shall continue to
be valid until their expiration dates, or up to a maximum of 2
years after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the
97th General Assembly.
    Notwithstanding any statute, ordinance, rule, or other law
to the contrary, all original appointments to an affected
department to which this Section applies shall be administered
in a no less stringent manner than the manner provided for in
this Section. Provisions of the Illinois Municipal Code, Fire
Protection District Act, fire district ordinances, and rules
adopted pursuant to such authority and other laws relating to
initial hiring of firefighters in affected departments shall
continue to apply to the extent they are compatible with this
Section, but in the event of a conflict between this Section
and any other law, this Section shall control.
    A fire protection district that is operating under a court
order or consent decree regarding original appointments to a
full-time fire department before the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly is exempt from the
requirements of this Section for the duration of the court
order or consent decree.
    (b) Original appointments. All original appointments made
to an affected fire department shall be made from a register of
eligibles established in accordance with the processes
required by this Section. Only persons who meet or exceed the
performance standards required by the Section shall be placed
on a register of eligibles for original appointment to an
affected fire department.
    Whenever an appointing authority authorizes action to hire
a person to perform the duties of a firefighter or to hire a
firefighter-paramedic to fill a position that is a new position
or vacancy due to resignation, discharge, promotion, death, the
granting of a disability or retirement pension, or any other
cause, the appointing authority shall appoint to that position
the person with the highest ranking on the final eligibility
list. If the appointing authority has reason to conclude that
the highest ranked person fails to meet the minimum standards
for the position or if the appointing authority believes an
alternate candidate would better serve the needs of the
department, then the appointing authority has the right to pass
over the highest ranked person and appoint either: (i) any
person who has a ranking in the top 5% of the register of
eligibles or (ii) any person who is among the top 5 highest
ranked persons on the list of eligibles if the number of people
who have a ranking in the top 5% of the register of eligibles
is less than 5 people.
    Any candidate may pass on an appointment once without
losing his or her position on the register of eligibles. Any
candidate who passes a second time may be removed from the list
by the appointing authority provided that such action shall not
prejudice a person's opportunities to participate in future
examinations, including an examination held during the time a
candidate is already on the fire district's register of
    The sole authority to issue certificates of appointment
shall be vested in the board of fire commissioners, or board of
trustees serving in the capacity of a board of fire
commissioners. All certificates of appointment issued to any
officer or member of an affected department shall be signed by
the chairperson and secretary, respectively, of the commission
upon appointment of such officer or member to the affected
department by action of the commission. Each person who accepts
a certificate of appointment and successfully completes his or
her probationary period shall be enrolled as a firefighter and
as a regular member of the fire department.
    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.
    (c) Qualification for placement on register of eligibles.
The purpose of establishing a register of eligibles is 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 shall
be subject to examination and testing which shall be public,
competitive, and open to all applicants unless the district
shall by ordinance limit applicants to residents of the
district, county or counties in which the district is located,
State, or nation. Districts may establish educational,
emergency medical service licensure, and other pre-requisites
for participation in an examination or for hire as a
firefighter. Any fire protection district may charge a fee to
cover the costs of the application process.
    Residency requirements in effect at the time an individual
enters the fire service of a district cannot be made more
restrictive for that individual during his or her period of
service for that district, or be made a condition of promotion,
except for the rank or position of fire chief and for no more
than 2 positions that rank immediately below that of the chief
rank which are appointed positions pursuant to the Fire
Department Promotion Act.
    No person who is 35 years of age or older shall be eligible
to take an examination for a position as a firefighter unless
the person has had previous employment status as a firefighter
in the regularly constituted fire department of the district,
except as provided in this Section. The age limitation does not
apply to:
        (1) any person previously employed as a full-time
    firefighter in a regularly constituted fire department of
    (i) any municipality or fire protection district located in
    Illinois, (ii) a fire protection district whose
    obligations were assumed by a municipality under Section 21
    of the Fire Protection District Act, or (iii) a
    municipality whose obligations were taken over by a fire
    protection district, or
        (2) any person who has served a fire district as a
    regularly enrolled volunteer, paid-on-call, or part-time
    firefighter for the 5 years immediately preceding the time
    that the district begins to use full-time firefighters to
    provide all or part of its fire protection service; or .
        (3) any person who turned 35 while serving as a member
    of the active or reserve components of any of the branches
    of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National
    Guard of any state, whose service was characterized as
    honorable or under honorable, if separated from the
    military, and is currently under the age of 40.
    No person who is under 21 years of age shall be eligible
for employment as a firefighter.
    No applicant shall be examined concerning his or her
political or religious opinions or affiliations. The
examinations shall be conducted by the commissioners of the
district or their designees and agents.
    No district shall require that any firefighter appointed to
the lowest rank serve a probationary employment period of
longer than one year of actual active employment, which may
exclude periods of training, or injury or illness leaves,
including duty related leave, in excess of 30 calendar days.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section, the
probationary employment period limitation may be extended for a
firefighter who is required, as a condition of employment, to
be a certified 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 certification.
    In the event that any applicant who has been found eligible
for appointment and whose name has been placed upon the final
eligibility register provided for in this Section has not been
appointed to a firefighter position within one year after the
date of his or her physical ability examination, the commission
may cause a second examination to be made of that applicant's
physical ability prior to his or her appointment. If, after the
second examination, the physical ability of the applicant shall
be found to be less than the minimum standard fixed by the
rules of the commission, the applicant shall not be appointed.
The applicant's name may be retained upon the register of
candidates eligible for appointment and when next reached for
certification and appointment that applicant may be again
examined as provided in this Section, and if the physical
ability of that applicant is found to be less than the minimum
standard fixed by the rules of the commission, the applicant
shall not be appointed, and the name of the applicant shall be
removed from the register.
    (d) Notice, examination, and testing components. Notice of
the time, place, general scope, merit criteria for any
subjective component, and fee of every examination shall be
given by the commission, by a publication at least 2 weeks
preceding the examination: (i) in one or more newspapers
published in the district, or if no newspaper is published
therein, then in one or more newspapers with a general
circulation within the district, or (ii) on the fire protection
district's Internet website. Additional notice of the
examination may be given as the commission shall prescribe.
    The examination and qualifying standards for employment of
firefighters shall be based on: 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
final register of eligibles. The examination may also include a
subjective component based on merit criteria as determined by
the commission. Scores from the examination must be made
available to the public.
    (e) Mental aptitude. No person who does not possess at
least a high school diploma or an equivalent high school
education shall be placed on a register of eligibles.
Examination of an applicant's mental aptitude shall be based
upon a written examination. The examination 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.
    (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 the following
        (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 may be based
    on standards developed, or approved, by the local
    appointing authority.
        (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.
    Physical ability examinations administered under this
Section shall be conducted with a reasonable number of proctors
and monitors, open to the public, and subject to reasonable
regulations of the commission.
    (g) Scoring of examination components. Appointing
authorities may create a preliminary eligibility register. A
person shall be placed on the list based upon his or her
passage of the written examination or the passage of the
written examination and the physical ability component.
Passage of the written examination means a score that is at or
above the median score for all applicants participating in the
written test. The appointing authority may conduct the physical
ability component and any subjective components subsequent to
the posting of the preliminary eligibility register.
    The examination components for an initial eligibility
register shall be graded on a 100-point scale. A person's
position on the list shall be determined by the following: (i)
the person's score on the written examination, (ii) the person
successfully passing the physical ability component, and (iii)
the person's results on any subjective component as described
in subsection (d).
    In order to qualify for placement on the final eligibility
register, an applicant's score on the written examination,
before any applicable preference points or subjective points
are applied, shall be at or above the median score. The local
appointing authority may prescribe the score to qualify for
placement on the final eligibility register, but the score
shall not be less than the median score.
    The commission shall prepare and keep a register of persons
whose total score is not less than the minimum fixed by this
Section and who have passed the physical ability examination.
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,
subjective component, and preference components of the test
administered in accordance with this Section. No more than 60
days after each examination, an initial eligibility list shall
be posted by the commission. The list shall include the final
grades of the candidates without reference to priority of the
time of examination and subject to claim for preference credit.
    Commissions may conduct additional examinations, including
without limitation a polygraph test, after a final eligibility
register is established and before it expires with the
candidates ranked by total score without regard to date of
examination. No more than 60 days after each examination, an
initial eligibility list shall be posted by the commission
showing the final grades of the candidates without reference to
priority of time of examination and subject to claim for
preference credit.
    (h) Preferences. The following are preferences:
        (1) Veteran preference. Persons who were engaged in the
    military service of the United States for a period of at
    least one year of active duty and who were honorably
    discharged therefrom, or who are now or have been members
    on inactive or reserve duty in such military or naval
    service, shall be preferred for appointment to and
    employment with the fire department of an affected
        (2) Fire cadet preference. Persons who have
    successfully completed 2 years of study in fire techniques
    or cadet training within a cadet program established under
    the rules of the Joint Labor and Management Committee
    (JLMC), as defined in Section 50 of the Fire Department
    Promotion Act, may be preferred for appointment to and
    employment with the fire department.
        (3) Educational preference. Persons who have
    successfully obtained an associate's degree in the field of
    fire service or emergency medical services, or a bachelor's
    degree from an accredited college or university may be
    preferred for appointment to and employment with the fire
        (4) Paramedic preference. Persons who have obtained
    certification as an Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic
    (EMT-P) may be preferred for appointment to and employment
    with the fire department of an affected department
    providing emergency medical services.
        (5) Experience preference. All persons employed by a
    district who have been paid-on-call or part-time certified
    Firefighter II, certified Firefighter III, State of
    Illinois or nationally licensed EMT-B or EMT-I, licensed
    paramedic, or any combination of those capacities may be
    awarded up to a maximum of 5 points. However, the applicant
    may not be awarded more than 0.5 points for each complete
    year of paid-on-call or part-time service. Applicants from
    outside the district who were employed as full-time
    firefighters or firefighter-paramedics by a fire
    protection district or municipality for at least 2 years
    may be awarded up to 5 experience preference points.
    However, the applicant may not be awarded more than one
    point for each complete year of full-time service.
        Upon request by the commission, the governing body of
    the district or in the case of applicants from outside the
    district the governing body of any other fire protection
    district or any municipality shall certify to the
    commission, within 10 days after the request, the number of
    years of successful paid-on-call, part-time, or full-time
    service of any person. A candidate may not receive the full
    amount of preference points under this subsection if the
    amount of points awarded would place the candidate before a
    veteran on the eligibility list. If more than one candidate
    receiving experience preference points is prevented from
    receiving all of their points due to not being allowed to
    pass a veteran, the candidates shall be placed on the list
    below the veteran in rank order based on the totals
    received if all points under this subsection were to be
    awarded. Any remaining ties on the list shall be determined
    by lot.
        (6) Residency preference. Applicants whose principal
    residence is located within the fire department's
    jurisdiction may be preferred for appointment to and
    employment with the fire department.
        (7) Additional preferences. Up to 5 additional
    preference points may be awarded for unique categories
    based on an applicant's experience or background as
    identified by the commission.
        (8) Scoring of preferences. The commission shall give
    preference for original appointment to persons designated
    in item (1) by adding to the final grade that they receive
    5 points for the recognized preference achieved. The
    commission shall determine the number of preference points
    for each category except (1). The number of preference
    points for each category shall range from 0 to 5. In
    determining the number of preference points, the
    commission shall prescribe that if a candidate earns the
    maximum number of preference points in all categories, that
    number may not be less than 10 nor more than 30. The
    commission shall give preference for original appointment
    to persons designated in items (2) through (7) by adding
    the requisite number of points to the final grade for each
    recognized preference achieved. The numerical result thus
    attained shall be applied by the commission in determining
    the final eligibility list and appointment from the
    eligibility list. The local appointing authority may
    prescribe the total number of preference points awarded
    under this Section, but the total number of preference
    points shall not be less than 10 points or more than 30
    No person entitled to any preference shall be required to
claim the credit before any examination held under the
provisions of this Section, but the preference shall be given
after the posting or publication of the initial eligibility
list or register at the request of a person entitled to a
credit before any certification or appointments are made from
the eligibility register, upon the furnishing of verifiable
evidence and proof of qualifying preference credit. Candidates
who are eligible for preference credit shall make a claim in
writing within 10 days after the posting of the initial
eligibility list, or the claim shall be deemed waived. Final
eligibility registers shall be established after the awarding
of verified preference points. All employment shall be subject
to the commission's initial hire background review including,
but not limited to, criminal history, employment history, moral
character, oral examination, and medical and psychological
examinations, all on a pass-fail basis. The medical and
psychological examinations must be conducted last, and may only
be performed after a conditional offer of employment has been
    Any person placed on an eligibility list who exceeds the
age requirement before being appointed to a fire department
shall remain eligible for appointment until the list is
abolished, or his or her name has been on the list for a period
of 2 years. No person who has attained the age of 35 years
shall be inducted into a fire department, except as otherwise
provided in this Section.
    The commission shall strike off the names of candidates for
original appointment after the names have been on the list for
more than 2 years.
    (i) Moral character. No person shall be appointed to a fire
department unless he or she is a person of good character; not
a habitual drunkard, a gambler, or a person who has been
convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
However, no person shall be disqualified from appointment to
the fire department because of the person's record of
misdemeanor convictions except those under Sections 11-6,
11-7, 11-9, 11-14, 11-15, 11-17, 11-18, 11-19, 12-2, 12-6,
12-15, 14-4, 16-1, 21.1-3, 24-3.1, 24-5, 25-1, 28-3, 31-1,
31-4, 31-6, 31-7, 32-1, 32-2, 32-3, 32-4, 32-8, and subsections
1, 6, and 8 of Section 24-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 or the
Criminal Code of 2012, or arrest for any cause without
conviction thereon. Any such person who is in the department
may be removed on charges brought for violating this subsection
and after a trial as hereinafter provided.
    A classifiable set of the fingerprints of every person who
is offered employment as a certificated member of an affected
fire department whether with or without compensation, shall be
furnished to the Illinois Department of State Police and to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation by the commission.
    Whenever a commission is authorized or required by law to
consider some aspect of criminal history record information for
the purpose of carrying out its statutory powers and
responsibilities, then, upon request and payment of fees in
conformance with the requirements of Section 2605-400 of the
State Police Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois,
the Department of State Police is authorized to furnish,
pursuant to positive identification, the information contained
in State files as is necessary to fulfill the request.
    (j) Temporary appointments. In order to prevent a stoppage
of public business, to meet extraordinary exigencies, or to
prevent material impairment of the fire department, the
commission may make temporary appointments, to remain in force
only until regular appointments are made under the provisions
of this Section, but never to exceed 60 days. No temporary
appointment of any one person shall be made more than twice in
any calendar year.
    (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;
97-1150, eff. 1-25-13.)
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 8/18/2014