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ARGUED NOVEMBER 5, 2008

Before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and RIPPLE and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

Illinois law grants a property right in employment to firefighters. They cannot be removed or discharged from employment except for just cause. This right attaches, however, only after a firefighter has held the position for one year or longer. Otherwise, fire districts may terminate their firefighter employees at will. The Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District terminated the plaintiff, Brian Kodish, sixteen months after the date he was hired. During four of those sixteen months, however, Kodish was on medical leave due to a work-related injury. On August 12, 2004, after a vote by the Board of the Trustees of the District, the fire chief, Gregory J. Sebesta, met with Kodish and offered him the opportunity to resign lest he be terminated immediately. Kodish signed a letter of resignation. He subsequently sued the District, Chief Sebesta, and the three members of the Board of Trustees of the District-Joe Dragovich, Andy Sarallo, and Donald Ventura-alleging that they violated his due process rights, violated his First Amendment rights by terminating him for engaging in pro-union speech, and wrongfully terminated and defamed him under Illinois state law. The district court granted summary judgment for all defendants on the due process and First Amendment claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Kodish appeals only the federal law claims.

 
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