Here is why the referee overturned the decision of the Joliet police commission

JOLIET, IL – Four days before Christmas, Joliet police sergeant. Chris Schott learned that the Illinois referee Edwin benn overturned the May decision of the Joliet police and fire council to reject his promotion to lieutenant.

Benn ruled that Schott’s promotion to Joliet police lieutenant would be retroactive to April 22. The arbitrator’s decision means Schott should get eight months of retroactive pay increases.

In May, the Joliet Police and Fire Board rejected Schott’s promotion, citing concerns about Schott’s recent discipline. In March, Joliet Police Chief Dawn Malec informed Schott, then Joliet Police Sergeant, that she was granting him an unpaid 10-day suspension for his behavior at a Christmas party in outside of duty hours which several detectives from the Joliet police attended.

At the time of the incident, Staff Sgt. Schott worked in the investigation unit. Due to his behavior at the party, Schott was also reassigned from investigations to the traffic patrol unit.

“The complainant took charge of his misconduct outside of working hours,” Benn’s decision concluded. “The discipline was corrective – and it worked. The after-hours misconduct incident for which the Grievor was sanctioned was a ‘one-time’ and cannot diminish the Grievor’s otherwise good record.”

Benn concluded that the police and firefighters “ignored or did not give proper weight to this important factor when they refused the Applicant’s promotion … The main emphasis should be on the 10 day misconduct suspension outside of working hours that occurred during a shift party.

“The grievor took responsibility for his misconduct and did not challenge the suspension through the grievance process and further apologized for his actions.”

Benn determined that Todd Wooten and the rest of the police and firefighters who voted to reject Schott’s promotion to lieutenant were wrong in doing so.

“As stated above, the discipline is about correcting the misconduct, not punishing the employee,” Benn wrote. “The complainant’s acceptance of the disciplinary measure as well as his apologies for his actions show that the discipline had its corrective effect. The Grievor understood the message that the Department cannot tolerate the type of conduct adopted by the Grievor – even outside of office. “

The arbitrator placed great emphasis on Chief Malec’s letter to the police and the fire department in support of Schott’s promotion to lieutenant.

Before she was demoted, Joliet Police Chief Dawn Malec argued that Sgt. Chris Schott a lieutenant. Image via the city of Joliet

In his March letter, Malec remarked: “I have reviewed the work history of candidate Lieutenant Christopher Schott and found that over the course of his career he has received numerous merit awards. unity, division honors, commendations and letters of appreciation from citizens. the disciplinary record for the past five years reveals a 10-day suspension in 2021 for improper conduct and an oral reprimand in 2020 for failure to exercise due diligence. Therefore, I find no reason to prevent him from performing his duties if he is promoted to the rank of lieutenant, ”according to the arbitrator’s decision.

“The rationale for refusing the promotion of Sergeant Christopher Schott to the rank of lieutenant is not supported by evidence,” Benn said. “As a remedy, Sergeant Schott will be immediately promoted to lieutenant as he would have been had the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners concluded that he should have been so promoted on April 22, 2021, and his promotion to the rank of lieutenant will be retroactive to that date. “

As for Malec, she was dismissed from her post as Joliet police chief in early October after less than nine months in office. Malec was informed that she had been fired as a city employee by City Manager Jim Capparelli, but Capparelli was unaware of a statute in the city which allowed Malec to resume his rank and post. previous posts, namely that of police lieutenant.

“Privately, Capparelli had nothing but contempt for Chief Malec,” Wooten told Joliet Patch in October. “In the two private conversations I had with Capparelli, he referred to Malec as a stupid, unmotivated bump, above his head, and still having an expressionless look on his face.
He also said the only reason she got the job was because Herb Lande was on sort of a liberal tangent. “

Last week, Joliet Patch announced that Malec was ready to go and retire in 2022 if Joliet paid him a lump sum of $ 400,000 “to compensate him for damage to his reputation,” according to a letter sent to Capparelli by Malec’s lawyer. , Naomi Frisch of the Chicago law firm Asher, Gittler & D’Alba.

As for Benn, it was the same referee who overturned the decision of the Joliet Police and the Fire Department to reject Constable Rich Olson’s promotion to sergeant last summer.

In November 2018, Olson launched an out-of-service chase in his patrol car that resulted in an accident for the person he was chasing along Bridge Street. Olson then walked away from the crash and did not notify anyone in the Joliet Police Department of the incident.

In 2019, Police Chief Al Roechner granted Olson a five-week suspension for the incident.

Cover of the associated Joliet patch:

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