Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 13th Judicial Circuit, Bureau County, Illinois, ) Circuit No. 11-MR-05 ) Honorable ) Joseph P. Hettel, ) Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Lytton
JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justices Carter and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Plaintiff John Thompson, sheriff of Bureau County, filed a declaratory judgment action against defendants, Policemen's Benevolent Labor Committee (PBLC), Dawn M. Dove and the County of Bureau, seeking a declaration that he was not required to arbitrate a decision by the Bureau County Merit Commission to discharge Dove. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. We affirm.
¶ 2 On November 4, 2009, the county and Sheriff Thompson entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council (IFOPLC). The agreement had an effective date of December 1, 2007, through November 30, 2010, and replaced a previous three-year agreement dated December 1, 2004, through November 30, 2007.
¶ 3 Among other issues, the collective bargaining agreement defined the sheriff's department's procedure for the arbitration of grievances. Article 16 of the agreement, entitled "Grievance Procedure," stated: "Section 16.3 Settlement Procedure
The aggrieved party in any case may appeal a grievance to arbitration within ten (10) days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays) following denial of a grievance [by the Sheriff].
Section 16.8 Merit Commission Proceedings
Any disciplinary action imposed by decision of the Merit Commission may be the subject of a grievance pursuant to this Article and Article 13 [Suspension, Discipline and Discharge] of this Agreement."
¶ 4 Article 39 provided an effective date and a termination date for the agreement as follows:
This agreement shall be effective December 1, 2007, and shall remain in full force and effect from said date until 11:59 p.m. on the 30th day of November, 2010. It shall be automatically renewed from year to year thereafter, unless either party notifies the other in writing no more than one-hundred twenty (120) days nor less than ninety (90) days prior to the date of expiration, or the anniversary date of such yearly extension, of a desire to amend it. This Agreement may be reopened at any time if agreed to in writing by both parties, and in such event, negotiations will begin immediately. ...