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05/27/88 Andrew Bultas, v. Board of Fire and Police

May 27, 1988

ANDREW BULTAS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE

v.

BOARD OF FIRE AND POLICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF BERWYN ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES AND CROSS-APPELLANTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

524 N.E.2d 1172, 171 Ill. App. 3d 189, 121 Ill. Dec. 124 1988.IL.847

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas J. O'Brien, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE LORENZ delivered the opinion of the court. PINCHAM and MURRAY, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LORENZ

Plaintiff, Andrew Bultas, appeals from two orders entered by the circuit court of Cook County following hearings pursuant to the Administrative Review Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 3-101 et seq.) in which the decision of defendant Board of Fire and Police Commissioners of the City of Berwyn, discharging plaintiff from his employment as a member of the Berwyn police department, was affirmed. Defendant board cross-appeals from the first of the two orders appealed from which reversed certain findings of the board unrelated to the findings used in support of discharge.

We affirm.

On February 7, 1985, Frank R. Kravcik, superintendent of police of the City of Berwyn, instituted a formal complaint, consisting of five counts, against plaintiff Bultas, a member of the Berwyn police department, stemming from two unrelated instances of official misconduct. A timely hearing was commenced in relation to those charges on February 19, 1985, before the defendant board. On August 21, 1985, the board issued a final decision discharging plaintiff Bultas from the department pursuant to section 10-2.1-17 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 24, par. 10-2.1-17). The board found that on or about February 27, 1983, plaintiff, while on duty as a Berwyn police officer, kicked prisoner Donna M. Harrison. The board further found that on February 7, 1985, plaintiff's authorization to engage in "secondary" employment at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn as a public security officer was rescinded by Berwyn Police Deputy Superintendent John Marra, but that on February 11 and 12, 1985, plaintiff disobeyed the direct order of two of his superiors to refrain from working at the hospital and continued to so work there for some time thereafter.

On September 11, 1985, plaintiff filed a complaint in administrative review in the circuit court of Cook County seeking reversal of the final order of the board discharging plaintiff from employment as a member of the Berwyn police department.

On September 8, 1986, the circuit court issued a written "Decision" which recited that the charge against plaintiff relating to the 1983 incident involving prisoner Harrison was supported by ample evidence, but that the charges of insubordination relating to plaintiff's refusal to refrain from "secondary" employment at MacNeal Hospital were improperly based on an invalid order. Accordingly, the circuit court reversed the charges based on insubordination. However, the court determined that the misconduct involving prisoner Harrison was sufficient alone to affirm plaintiff's discharge.

Subsequently, in light of a pending Federal lawsuit brought by plaintiff Bultas in which he alleged his discharge was in retaliation for supporting an unsuccessful candidate in the 1985 Berwyn mayoral election, defendant board moved for a clarification of the order of September 8, 1986. On October 22, 1986, the circuit court entered an order remanding the matter to defendant board for the determination of whether the sanction imposed was appropriate in view of the court's reversal of the charges of insubordination.

On November 5, 1986, defendant board issued its decision on remand, stating:

"[The] action of Andrew Bultas while on duty as a Police Officer of the City of Berwyn, Illinois, on or about February 27, 1983, in the unlawful use of force against [Donna] Harrison of 2245 Elmwood, Berwyn, Illinois, by kicking her and causing physical injury to her warrants his discharge and this Board affirms its decision to terminate Sergeant Bultas' employment and to ...


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