Archive for September 29th, 2011

Fire departments discuss combining services

Dennis McGuire, Jr. found an article discussing a possible merger of sorts between three suburban fire and police departments.

La Grange officials voiced unanimous support to pursue a program of shared services with Western Springs and LaGrange Park in the first of three presentations Sept. 26 on the concept.

The study, sponsored by the Metropolitan Mayors and Managers Caucus and funded in part by a grant, was designed to examine similarities between the three villages regarding community characteristics and public safety operations.

The three towns have very similar populations, number of square miles and financial resources. Differences lie in emergency services with LaGrange Park and Western Springs employing paid, on-call firefighters and a private paramedic service, compared to La Grange, which has full-time firefighters.

The project also identified opportunities to share public safety services and made seven recommendations in a three-phase approach, beginning with combining emergency dispatch services.

The analysis of calls for emergency services suggests the total call volumes could be met from a single dispatch center with a potential savings of three full-time and four part-time workers. Other communities may be invited to join the system in time.

Departments could also share a record and reporting system.

Fire department trucks could be shared, and police services could be combined with overlapping responsibility between the communities for the supervising shift sergeant. Eventually, policing districts within and between the communities could be consolidated into larger ones.

Read the complete article from TheDoingsWestern Springs HERE.

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Chicago looks at ways to save money

There have been many articles of late discussing the Chicago budget deficit and offering several areas that might produce savings or added revenues. An article from WBEZ.org mentions several items concerning the Chicago Fire Department as potential options.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago aldermen are having mixed reactions to the city watchdog’s ideas for balancing the budget.

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson released a report late Monday outlining dozens of ideas to cut spending and raise revenue in order to deal with a projected budget deficit of more than $635 million for 2012. All told, Ferguson’s “budget options” could net the city about $2.8 billion, and they run the gamut from policies that have been seriously considered in the past, to long-shot revenue grabs.

The report also said Chicago could save millions of dollars by trimming back public safety budgets by reducing the number of firefighters who work on a truck, eliminating the police marine and helicopter unit and converting 1/5 of the city’s firefighting vehicles into ambulances.

Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th, bristled at an idea to cut more than 700 fire department supervisors in an effort to trim middle management.

“When you have, you know, fire and burning buildings and maybe people trapped in there, those supervisors are important,” she said.

But public safety budgets could use some trimming, says Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th).

The complete article can be found HERE.