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01/27/88 the City of Peru, v. the Illinois State Labor

January 27, 1988




Before discussing the enumerated supervisory functions further, we deem it important to note no one within the Peru police department has the authority to hire, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, or reward other officers, since that power is vested by Illinois statute in the board of fire and police commissioners. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 24, par. 10-2.1-1 et seq.) Of the remaining indicia of authority, the Board only discussed whether the employees in question have the authority to effectively recommend suspensions. The Board found that though the lieutenants and sergeants have authority to recommend suspensions, the recommendations are ineffective because the Chief independently investigates and reviews the recommendations. More specifically the Board stated:


521 N.E.2d 108, 167 Ill. App. 3d 284, 118 Ill. Dec. 40 1988.IL.81

Petition for review of order of Illinois State Labor Relations Board.


JUSTICE HEIPLE delivered the opinion of the court. BARRY, P.J., and WOMBACHER, J., concur.


The respondent, Peru Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 137 (Union), filed a petition with the respondent, Illinois State Labor Relations Board (Board), seeking to represent a bargaining unit composed of police officers in the City of Peru below the rank of chief, i.e., four lieutenants, two sergeants and 13 patrolmen. The Board's hearing officer concluded that the four lieutenants and two sergeants are supervisors as defined by the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1603(r)) (Act), and therefore, cannot be included in the bargaining unit. In a 2 to 1 decision, the Board reversed the hearing officer's recommendation and held that the lieutenants and sergeants are not supervisors, and thus, can be included in the bargaining unit.

In order to secure judicial review of the Board's inclusion of the lieutenants and sergeants in the bargaining unit, the City of Peru (City) refused to bargain with the Union. After summary unfair labor practice proceedings before the Board, the City petitioned this court for review. The sole issue on appeal is whether the Board correctly found that the lieutenants and sergeants are not supervisors within the meaning of the Act. We find the Board's decision incorrect, and accordingly, reverse.

This is a case of first impression in Illinois and there was much Discussion by the parties concerning the proper scope of review. The Act provides that judicial review of a decision by the Board may be sought in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Review Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 3-101 et seq.), except that it shall go directly to the appellate court. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1611(e).) The Administrative Review Law provides the review shall extend to all questions of law and fact presented by the entire record. It further provides the findings and Conclusions of the administrative agency on questions of fact shall be held to be prima facie true and correct. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 3-110.) However, where the findings of fact are against the manifest weight of the evidence, and it is clearly evident the Board should have reached the opposite Conclusion, the reviewing court has the authority to reverse. (Rockford Township Highway Department v. Illinois State Labor Relations Board (1987), 153 Ill. App. 3d 863.) Further, where the question involved is one of law, such as the proper interpretation of a statute, the Board's finding is not binding on the court. The resolution of the issue in the instant case involves both the interpretation of statutory language and questions of fact.

The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1601 et seq.) is a comprehensive statute designed to govern labor relations for a significant number of public employees. It establishes a duty for a public employer to bargain collectively with the exclusive representative of a unit of public employees. For purposes of the instant case, the Act's provisions for establishing a bargaining unit are pertinent. In most instances, a bargaining unit determined by the Board may not include both supervisors and nonsupervisors. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1609(b).) The Act defines "supervisor" as follows:

"'Supervisor' is an employee whose principal work is substantially different from that of his subordinates and who has authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, direct, reward, or discipline employees, or to adjust their grievances, or to effectively recommend such action, if the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the consistent use of independent judgment. Except with respect to police employment, the term 'supervisor' includes only those individuals who devote a preponderance of their employment time to exercising such authority State supervisors notwithstanding. In addition, in determining supervisory status in police employment, rank shall not be determinative. The Board shall consider, as evidence of bargaining unit inclusion or exclusion, the common law enforcement policies and relationships between police officer ranks and certification under applicable civil service law, ordinances, personnel codes or Division 2.1 of Article 10 of the Illinois Municipal Code, as amended from time to time, but these factors shall not be the sole or predominant factors considered by the Board in determining police supervisory status." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1603(r).

Thus, in determining if an employee is a supervisor within the meaning of the Act, it must first be decided whether the employee's principal work is substantially different than that of his subordinates. In the instant case, the Board found that the work of three lieutenants in the Peru police department was substantially different than that of their subordinates. It did not address the issue as to the fourth lieutenant or the two sergeants since it found they failed the test for other reasons. An explanation of the functions and duties of all the officers in the Peru police department is necessary at this juncture for our determination of this issue.

The sworn officers of the Peru police department comprise a total of 21 individuals: a chief of police, a lieutenant-investigator, four lieutenants, two sergeants, and 13 patrolmen. The department also employs two clerks and a secretary. The department operates in a military fashion and follows a strict chain of command, meaning subordinate employees must obey without equivocation their superior officers. Department rules and regulations define lieutenants and sergeants as superior officers. Patrolmen are defined as subordinate officers.

The general administration, supervision and control of the police department is vested in Chief of Police White (the Chief), who is directly answerable to the mayor. The Chief works regular business hours Monday through Friday, but the department is in continuous operation. Accordingly, the other officers are divided into three shifts. Each shift is headed by either Lieutenant Harris, Lucas, or Znaniecki, the three shift commanders. Each shift also has a shift supervisor, either Lieutenant Andreoni, Sergeant Buczkowski, or Sergeant Mertel, and a certain number of patrolmen. When the shift commanders are off duty, the shift supervisors assume the role of shift commander; thus, they are also referred to as part-time shift commanders. The Chief testified that he spends "[very], very little" time supervising the patrolmen or clerks, and in reference to the full- and part-time shift commanders he stated, "The shift commanders run the department."

The full-time shift commanders spend virtually all of their time at the police headquarters running the operations of the department. In addition to supervisory duties which will be discussed below, the shift commanders' responsibilities include operating the radio transmitter, dispatching patrolmen, booking persons arrested, handling walk-in reports and inquiries, and reviewing patrolmen's reports. They also perform various managerial tasks such as keeping logs and completing daily activity sheets. The Board found that the full-time shift commanders meet the first prong of the test for supervisory status.

The part-time shift commanders perform the functions of the full-time shift commanders 50% of the time. When they are not performing the functions of the full-time shift commanders, they serve as shift supervisors. As shift supervisors, they patrol the city in the designated ...

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