Petition For Review of Order of The Illinois Labor Relations Board, Local Panel. Nos. L-CA-01-032, L-CA-01-064, and L-CA-01-059 (consolidated) Petition for Review of Order of The Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel. No. S-CA-01-205
 The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Hoffman
 In these consolidated appeals, the petitioners, County of Cook (County), Forest Preserve District of Cook County (Forest Preserve District), Sheriff of Cook County (Sheriff), and the Office of the Cook County State's Attorney (State's Attorney) seek review of decisions and orders of the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB). The ILRB ruled that the petitioners violated the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act) (5 ILCS 315/1 et seq. (West 2000)), when they failed to bargain with the respondent-labor unions representing various groups of the petitioners' employees over the enforcement of a new residency ordinance which required existing employees who lived in Cook County to continue to do so and new employees to establish residency in Cook County within six months from the date they were hired. For the reasons which follow, we affirm the decision and order of the Local Panel of the ILRB, and dismiss the appeal taken from the decision and order of the State Panel of the ILRB.
 The facts giving rise to these consolidated appeals are essentially undisputed. The respondents, Teamsters Local Union No. 714 (Teamsters), Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council (IFOP), and International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150 (IUOE), are labor unions representing eleven bargaining units of the petitioners' employees. Specifically, the Teamsters represent a single bargaining unit composed of the deputy sheriffs employed by the County and Sheriff. IFOP represents nine bargaining units composed of individuals employed by the petitioners, including: (1) Internal Affairs investigators in the Sheriff's Court Services Department; (2) sheriff sergeants in Court Services; (3) Internal Affairs investigators in the Department of Corrections, (4) investigators in the Sheriff's Fugitive Unit; (5) investigators in the Sheriff's Day Reporting Center; (6) security officers at the Cook County Hospital; (7) Juvenile Detention, MIS and Central Supply employees; (8) Forest Preserve District police officers; and (9) State's Attorney investigators. IUOE represents a bargaining unit composed of employees working in the County's Highway Department. With the exception of IFOP's Juvenile Detention unit and IUOE's bargaining unit, all of the units are composed of "peace officers" within the meaning of section 3(k) of the Act (5 ILCS 315/3(k) (2000)).
 Prior to December 2000, the petitioners *fn1 did not require their employees to reside within Cook County as a condition of employment. On December 5, 2000, however, the Cook County Board of Commissioners adopted the following ordinance:
 Section 1. Short Title: This article shall be known as the Cook County Personnel Residence Requirement Ordinance.
 Section 2. Purpose: To encourage each Cook County Employee to maintain a personal commitment to a residence in Cook County and to assure all residents that employees share in the responsibility of investing in the future of Cook County.
 Section 3. Residency Requirement of All Cook County Employees: Upon the effective date of this Ordinance and thereafter, the County of Cook shall only employ persons who maintain residence in Cook County throughout their employment. Wages, salary and employee benefits may only be paid to persons residing in Cook County. Any new employee shall have six (6) months from date of hire to establish actual residency with Cook County.
 Section 4. Exemption: Grandfather Clause: All present Cook County employees who reside outside of Cook County upon adoption of this Ordinance are exempt from the provisions of the residency requirements of this Ordinance.
 Section 1. Effective Date: This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon adoption."
 After the ordinance was passed, the respondents requested that the petitioners bargain over the changes created by the residency ordinance. The petitioners, however, refused to bargain over the residency requirements.
 On February 8, 2001, April 12, 2001, and May 1, 2001, respectively, the Teamsters, IUOE, and IFOP filed separate charges with the Local Panel of the ILRB, alleging that the County, Sheriff, and Forest Preserve District engaged in unfair labor practices within the meaning of sections 10(a)(4) and (1) of the Act (5 ILCS 315/10(a)(4), (1) (West 2000)) by failing to bargain over the residency requirement, which, they maintained, was a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. IFOP also filed a companion charge with the State Panel of the ILRB, alleging the same infraction against the State's Attorney's Office. Following an investigation of the charges, the Executive Director of the ILRB issued separate complaints in each case, and then consolidated the matters for purposes of a hearing.
 In lieu of presenting testimony at the hearing, the parties submitted stipulations of fact and stipulated exhibits to the administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ issued a single decision in which she found that the residency requirement was a mandatory subject of bargaining, and that the petitioners violated the Act by failing to bargain with the respondents over this matter. Thereafter, the petitioners, with the exception of the Forest Preserve District, filed timely exceptions to the ALJ's recommended decision, and the respondents subsequently filed responses to the exceptions.
 The Local and State Panels of the ILRB heard oral arguments from all of the parties at a joint meeting held on October 1, 2002. On December 5, 2002, the Local Panel of the ILRB issued a decision and order wherein it adopted the ALJ's recommended decision. Specifically, the Local Panel of the ILRB found, inter alia, that: (1) the 1997 amendment to section 14(i) of the Act (5 ILCS 315/14(i) (West 2000)), which stated that residency requirements for peace officers are not mandatorily negotiable in "municipalities with populations greater than 1,000,000", did not include counties with populations over 1,000,000, such as Cook County; and (2) with respect to all of the bargaining units, the residency requirement imposed by the ordinance constituted a mandatory subject of bargaining under the balancing test prescribed in Central City Ass'n v. Illinois Education Labor Relations Board, 149 Ill. 2d 496, 599 N.E.2d 892 (1992). Accordingly, the Local Panel of the ILRB ordered the County, Sheriff, and Forest Preserve District to take certain actions, including rescinding the subject ordinance, and ceasing and desisting from refusing to bargain collectively in good faith with the respondents regarding any decision to implement a residency requirement.
 Also on December 5, 2002, the State Panel of the ILRB issued a separate decision and order regarding the State's Attorney, which closely mirrored that of the Local Panel. The Board noted, however, that the State's Attorney had not addressed the issue of how the amendment to section 14(i) of the Act, excluding municipalities with populations greater than 1,000,000 from having to bargain over residency requirements, included the State's Attorney, who is an elected State official.
 The County, Sheriff, and Forest Preserve District filed a timely petition for direct review of the decision and order of the Local Panel of the ILRB (assigned appeal number 1-03-0073). The State's Attorney also filed a petition for direct review of the decision and order of the State Panel of the ILRB (assigned appeal number 1-03-0074). On June 6, 2003, we consolidated appeal numbers 1-03-0073 and 1-03-0074.
 The primary issue before us in these consolidated appeals is whether the petitioners' refusal to engage in collective bargaining with the respondents over the imposition of a new residency requirement amounted to an unfair labor practice in violation of sections 10(a)(4) and (1) of the Act (5 ILCS 315/10(a)(4), (1) (West 2000)). For reasons which will become clearer later in this opinion, we will address the issues presented in appeal ...