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LEEN v. CARR

November 19, 1996

JOHN P. LEEN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
GLENN E. CARR, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KEYS

 Introduction

 This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion For Preliminary Injunction, seeking to enjoin the Chicago Fire Department from hiring its November 1996 paramedic class. The underlying case involves a reverse discrimination charge by twenty-four applicants *fn1" , who applied for Chicago Fire Department paramedic positions between August 12, 1992 and July 9, 1996, but were not selected for the November 1996 paramedic class.

 For the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

 Factual Background

 Plaintiffs are twenty-four fully licensed paramedics who applied for paramedic positions with the Chicago Fire Department between August 12, 1992 and July 9, 1996, but have yet to be hired. Plaintiffs filed suit against the Commissioner of Personnel of the City of Chicago, the Fire Commissioner of the City of Chicago, and the City of Chicago (herein collectively referred to as "Defendants"), alleging that Defendants' practice of providing preferences to individuals who either participated in Citywide Colleges' paramedic training programs or were FACT members is arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory. (Trial Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Pls.' Prelim. Inj. Mem.] at 3). Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants' hiring process contravenes provisions of the Municipal Code and the Personnel Rules of the City of Chicago. (Pls. Prelim. Inj. Mem. at 6). Accordingly, on October 16, 1996, Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin Defendants from hiring the November 1996 paramedic class until the conclusion of this litigation. (Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Pls. Prelim. Inj. Mot. at 1]).

 A. The Chicago Fire Department Paramedic Hiring Process

 To be considered for hire as a paramedic, an applicant must submit to the Department of Personnel for the City of Chicago ("Personnel") a completed application, along with documents verifying a valid Illinois Driver's License and a current paramedic state license. (Preliminary Injunction Hearing Record [R.] at 55). Each application is date and time stamped, and a receipt is given to the applicant. (R. at 80, 250). Applicants are told not to lose their receipts. (R. at 80, 250).

 Thereafter, Personnel reviews each application to determine whether the applicant meets the minimal qualifications for the positions. (R. at 55). If an applicant is deemed "qualified," his or her name is placed on an eligibility list. *fn3" (R. at 55-56). Depending on the number of open paramedic positions, Personnel sends a referral list to the Chicago Fire Department. (R. at 100-03). The Chicago Fire Department paramedic hiring process is governed by the Municipal Code of Chicago ("Municipal Code") and the Personnel Rules of the City of Chicago ("Personnel Rules"). Specifically, Section 2-74-050 of the Municipal Code *fn4" grants the Commissioner of Personnel the duty and responsibility of establishing and maintaining a list of persons eligible for appointment to positions as paramedics. Both the Municipal Code and the Personnel Rules mandate that the Commissioner of Personnel establish and maintain a list of eligible candidates in order of their relative excellence in the respective examinations. (Municipal Code, Section 2-74-050; Defendants' Exhibit [Defs.' Ex.] 3 at 16). The Personnel Rules further require that the Commissioner of Personnel "test fairly the capacity and fitness of the applicant to efficiently perform the duties of the position." (Defs.' Ex. 3, at 12). Moreover, Personnel's hiring manual specifically details the screening criteria, and only after the manual has been officially revised may the screening criteria be changed. (R. at 71).

 B. Implementing Hiring Preferences

 Notwithstanding the established hiring guidelines, at some time between the Spring of 1995 and the Spring of 1996, the Deputy Commissioner of Personnel of the City of Chicago, Robert Joyce, recommended, and the Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department, Cortez Trotter, agreed that hiring preferences would be given to First Aid Care Team ("FACT") members and to students who attended one of the Citywide Colleges' paramedic training programs. *fn5" (R. at 72, 175).

 The FACT program was developed by the Chicago Fire Department in response to complaints from residents of the Chicago public housing complexes that paramedics failed to timely respond to calls for assistance. (R. at 57). Through a Community Development Block Grant, and with the assistance of the Hull House Association, the Chicago Fire Department employs low to moderate income individuals in public housing complexes as "FACT members" to provide immediate response to 911 emergency calls and to stabilize patients until the Chicago Fire Department paramedics arrive. (R. at 57, 129-30). The Chicago Fire Department pays for FACT members to be trained in EMT-A (Emergency Medical Training - Advanced Course) or EMT-B (Emergency Medical Training - Basic Course), and if they qualify, to receive paramedic training at one of the Citywide Colleges. (R. at 112-13, 130-32).

 To implement the preferences that Commissioners Trotter and Joyce promulgated, Personnel began recording, first by index cards and then by computer data base, each applicant's race, sex, whether the applicant graduated from a Citywide Colleges' paramedic training program, whether the applicant was a FACT member, and the date of application. (R. at 78, 81, 96; Pl's. Exh. 12). Personnel employees relied upon the data ...


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