Direct Review of Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel, No. S-DE-14-055
JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Pope and Justice Appleton concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 335 (eff. Feb. 1, 1994) and section 11(e) of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Labor Act) (5 ILCS 315/11(e) (West 2012)), petitioners, Lois Lindorff and Deborah Fuqua, seek direct review of a decision of respondent, the Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel (Board), finding their positions qualified for a gubernatorial designation for exclusion from collective bargaining under section 6.1(b)(5) of the Labor Act (5 ILCS 315/6.1(b)(5) (West Supp. 2013)). With this court, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (AFSCME), filed a written appearance and a brief in support of petitioners' position, and thus we realigned AFSCME as a petitioner. Respondents, the Board and the Department of Central Management Services (CMS)/Department of Corrections (DOC), filed a joint brief. Respondent, Mary L. Miller, was the other employee in a position subject to the Board's order, but she did not enter a written appearance with this court.
¶ 2 On review, petitioners (1) challenge the Board's interpretation of section 6.1(c)(i) of the Labor Act (5 ILCS 315/6.1(c)(i) (West Supp. 2013)) and (2) argue the health-care-unit-administrator position did not meet the requirements for a gubernatorial designation under section 6.1(b)(5) of the Labor Act. We affirm.
¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND
¶ 4 On August 20, 2013, CMS filed a gubernatorial designation of exclusion petition under section 6.1 of the Labor Act, seeking to exclude from collective bargaining three health care unit administrators (two were public service administrators option 8N and one was public service administrator option 6) in the DOC. The petition asserted the positions met the requirements of section 6.1(b)(5) of the Labor Act (5 ILCS 315/6.1(b)(5) (West Supp. 2013)). On August 30, 2013, petitioners and Miller filed separate objections to the petition, each asserting her position did not qualify for a gubernatorial designation because it did not meet the requirements of section 6.1(b)(5) of the Labor Act. On September 6, 2013, AFSCME filed its objections to the gubernatorial designation of the positions at issue.
¶ 5 On September 12, 2013, the administrative law judge (ALJ) held an evidentiary hearing in accordance with section 1300.60(d)(2)(B) of Title 80 of the Illinois Administrative Code (80 Ill. Adm. Code 1300.60(d)(2)(B) (2013)). The evidence established the structure of medical services within the DOC. At the correctional centers at issue in this case, the vendor, Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (Wexford), provided all of the medical care for the inmates. Wexford employed all of the health care workers, including a medical director and director of nursing for each correctional center. DOC also employed a medical director, who at the relevant time was Dr. Louis Shicker. The DOC medical director oversaw all of the health care services for the entire inmate population in Illinois and was assisted by nurse coordinators. Each correctional center was run by a warden, who had two assistant wardens, one for programs and one for operations. The health care unit was the largest program under the assistant warden for programs. The health care unit administrator was the employee under the assistant warden for programs, who primarily monitored Wexford's compliance with the state and federal laws and regulations, DOC administrative and institutional directives, and Wexford's contract with the DOC.
¶ 6 The administrative directives for health care were created by the DOC medical director. A correctional center could only deviate from an administrative directive by adopting an institutional directive that was more stringent than the applicable administrative directive. The health care unit administrators at issue in this case were registered nurses.
¶ 7 Fuqua testified every aspect of the operation of her health care unit was governed by federal and state laws and administrative and institutional directives. She had no authority to deviate from the directives and had no role in the promulgation of both administrative and institutional directives. If she thought a directive needed to be changed, Fuqua would notify her supervisor. Each month, Fuqua completed a report that measured Wexford's performance. The report had six pages of instructions, of which the health care unit administrator had no role in writing. According to Fuqua, if she discovered any noncompliance, she had to report it. The discretionary language in the report's instructions was for the business administrators, not the health care unit administrators. She had no role in any sanctions that could result from noncompliance. Fuqua further testified the health care unit had a mission statement, and she had no role in its creation. She also had no role in formulating a budget.
¶ 8 Fuqua also attended many monthly meetings. One was with the warden, during which he updated all of the department heads on new administrative and institutional directives and staff appointments. It was the health care unit administrator's responsibility to cover the new directives at a monthly staff meeting with Wexford employees. The assistant warden of programs also held a monthly meeting for department heads that covered similar topics. Additionally, Fuqua met with the assistant warden of programs on a daily basis to report any violations by Wexford. Health care unit administrators also had a quality improvement meeting with a representative from Dr. Shicker's office, in which they discussed the parts of the contract not being met. Last, Fuqua explained the job description for health care unit administrators contained a lot of incorrect information.
¶ 9 Miller and Lindorff testified their correctional centers ran the same way as Fuqua's did. However, Lindorff estimated her time spent on monitoring Wexford was 70-80%.
¶ 10 Dr. Shicker testified the health care unit administrators had discretion in reporting deviations because only significant deviations needed to be reported. He explained missing one offender's physical by the set date was insignificant, but a pattern of missing physicals would be significant. Dr. Shicker also explained that, in reporting staff shortages, the health care unit administrator had to weigh whether the services required by the contract were being done versus the specific employee that had to fill the hours. Beyond the two aforementioned areas of the report, the health care unit administrator had very little discretion with the rest of the report.
¶ 11 Ashby was the assistant warden of programs at Western Correctional Center, and he testified his health care unit administrator was considered a department head and part of his management team. He communicated with his health care unit administrator daily and relied on the health care unit administrator and his Wexford director of nursing to make decisions regarding medical matters, as he was not a nurse. If a decision was made Wexford had to pay back hours not worked under the contract, Fuqua, his health care ...