Arbitrator rules on Quincy firefighters

As we first reported on and KHQA's News at 5, w e've learned some important information about those Quincy firefighters who got in trouble with the city earlier this year.

Tuesday, an arbitrator has reinstated one of the firefighters, restored a rank and even ordered backpay for one of them.

This stems from the investigation into personal e-mails and personal phone conversations with other city employees on city computers.

Here are the specifics - the arbitrator, a University of Illinois law professor, restored Mark Bigelow's rank to captain.

You'll recall the Quincy Police and Fire Commission demoted Bigelow from assistant fire chief down to lieutenant. The arbitrator also ordered full backpay at a captain's rank for Bigelow, dating back to when he was demoted last February.

The arbitrator ordered the city to reinstate Bruce Oitker as a lieutenant, his same rank when he was dismissed.

But the arbitrator upheld Sean Dean's dismissal. That means he will not get his job back.

KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with the vice president of the Quincy Firefighters Local 63 to get the union's response.

Vice President Chad Hummel said, "We're satisfied with the ruling bringing those firefighters back. It will help them get their lives back in order. As for the other firefighter left, we will get together and go over our options in that case."

We also talked with Bernie Vahlkamp, president of the Quincy Firefighters union Local 63.

He told Rajah he plans to take Dean's dismissal to the board to discuss where to go from here.

We tried contacting all three of these firefighters.

We were able to speak with Bruce Oitker.

He told us it's been a long year and he's pleased with the decision.

We also did some checking on who made today's ruling.

Matthew W. Finkin, a University of Illinois law professor served as the arbitrator.

He specializes in Individual Employee Relations and Labor Law.