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Blue Island firefighter files lawsuit against city

Updated: January 12, 2014 6:39AM



A part-time Blue Island firefighter is suing the city, contending that it withdrew an offer to him for a full-time job without justification.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleges that the city committed breach of contract in not hiring Harry O’Hagan as a full-time firefighter, and it seeks more than $100,000 in damages.

O’Hagan was hired as a part-time firefighter in September 2011 and was placed on Blue Island’s fire department hiring list, which expired Aug. 4, 2013.

In May, the city’s civil service commission instructed Fire Chief Terry Vrshek to proceed in testing O’Hagan, the next candidate on the list, for a full-time opening, according to the lawsuit. It says O’Hagan accepted an offer of employment from Blue Island on June 27, pending a psychological exam, which he passed.

A full-time firefighter job was created July 10, but O’Hagan was told on Aug. 7 that he would not be hired as a full-time firefighter because the hiring list had expired Aug. 4, according to the lawsuit. Furthermore, the city instructed the civil service commission to no longer hire from that list, the suit says.

The civil service commission posted a new fire department hiring list on Dec. 6, and the city plans to use it to hire two full-time firefighters “very soon,” the lawsuit states.

O’Hagan’s attorney, Patrick Walsh, said O’Hagan has a “really strong case.”

“They withdrew (the full-time job) without any reasoning,” Walsh said.

Messages left for Blue Island’s city attorney, ShawnTe Raines, were not returned Tuesday.



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