Saturday, October 18, 2008
LINE OF DUTY PENSION BENEFITS FOR POLICE OFFICERS
About three weeks ago a telephone conversation between two attorneys representing Sgt. Steven R. Gorski, an employee of the Woodstock Police Department for the last 20 years and Mr. David W. McArdle, a partner in the firm of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, representing the Chief of Police and City of Woodstock took place. It was my understanding that Mr. McArdle wanted to have a meeting of the legal representatives of the Chief of Police, Robert W. Lowen Jr. and the City of Woodstock and the Police Pension Board and those of Sgt. Gorski to see if this litigation on the part of the Police Chief and the City and the Police Pension Board could be resolved in a more amicable and efficient manner. I presume since Mr. McArdle arranged this meeting he self-assumed the role of moderator. This meeting took place in the afternoon of October 8, 2008 in the City Council Chambers.
After about two hours of talking and the usual "posturing" that attorneys are known for, the position of Sgt. Gorski was finalized to the understanding of Mr. McArdle and he said he would get back to Sgt. Gorski's attorneys after discussing this with the City Council as soon as possible. To date, Oct. 18, 2008, Sgt. Gorski's attorneys have not heard a word back from Mr. McArdle; so much for amicability and efficiency.
Also during this meeting one of the attorneys for either Workman's Comp or the Pension Board allegedly said that they were not sure that the injury ever happened during line of duty even though the appropriate form (Form 45) was filed and investigated an verified by a deputy chief of police. According to "Municipal Matters" dated July 2007, Vol. 2, Issue 3, a news letter produced by the firm of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood and McArdle a police officer is entitled to Line of Duty Pension Benefits and I quote:
"Any act of police duty inherently involving a special risk, not ordinarily assumed by a citizen in the ordinary walks of life, imposed on a policeman by the statutes of this State, or by ordinances or police regulations of the city in which this Article is in effect or by special assignment, or by any act of heroism performed in the city having for its direct purpose the saving of the life or property of a person other than the policeman."
Sgt. Gorski was at 3:30 am trying to do what he could for a man who was gravely injured in a single car accident on the side of Route 14 in Woodstock Illinois. The man expired and later it was found that his blood alcohol was in excess of the legal limit. It was at this scene during the course of his assisting in the later investigation that he incurred his injuries. Now that does not sound like an act "ordinarily assumed by a citizen in the ordinary walks of life " to me. How about you?
This gives you just a little feeling of what Sgt. Gorski has been dealing with in connection with the Chief of Police, the City of Woodstock and its hired and well paid attorneys.
To all the citizens of Woodstock Illinois don't forget that your elected officials are allegedly condoning this by setting policy and allowing their subordinates to proceed in this matter as regards Sgt. Gorski. Last but not least it is your tax money being used to pay the legal fees of these attorneys to pursue this course of action. That tax money could be used in a much better way in these troubled times.