Cicero Condemns Arbitrator’s Decision to Reinstate Firefighter Who Injured Colleague

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Officials of the Town of Cicero on Tuesday denounced arbitrator Cary Morgen who ordered the reinstatement of an employee involved in a felonious assault against a paramedic and who engaged in a verbal altercation with a supervisor. Firefighter Christopher J. Quelette was terminated from his employment by Cicero on January 25, 2022 after he committed a battery against a Cicero paramedic, Paul Bonk, during a golf outing on Sept. 24, 2021 in Darien. The outing was hosted by Firefighter’s Union Local 717.  Bonk filed a police report against Quelette on Sept. 26 with the Darien Police Department as a result of the battery. Bonk required surgery to repair damage to his knee caused by Quelette and was unable to work as a paramedic for several months during the pandemic. Additionally, Quelette then, while on duty, engaged in an inappropriate verbal abuse with a Cicero Fire Lieutenant, related to the golf outing incident, by shouting in his face. Incredulously, the arbitrator, Cary Morgen, ordered Quelette’s reinstatement asserting that the violence he inflicted on Bond occurred while he was “off-duty.” Numerous Town of Cicero employee regulations prohibit this kind of conduct during or after working hours. Dismissing the injury claims, arbitrator Cary Morgen ordered that Quelette not only be reinstated to his position but that he also receive full back pay. “Arbitrator Carey Morgen’s decision not only contradicts the foundations of public safety, it is also a blueprint on how employees can commit battery and then be reinstated for it,” Town Spokesman Ray Hanania said Tuesday. “Cary Morgen’s decision is a slap in the face of the victim, Bonk, and it undermines the honor of firefighters everywhere.”

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