Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Five years after the city of Park Ridge cut funding for a dedicated training officer within the fire department, the position is being restored.

Part of Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen’s reorganization of the department includes the position of a training captain for all firefighter/paramedics. Lt. Derek Decker was promoted to the position on April 30.

Restoring the position was prompted by a need to more consistently train members of the department, in addition to the department receiving a low score during a 2012 insurance rating review, Sorensen indicated.

“We got a score of 47 percent in training,” he said. “That’s where the rubber meets the road here.”

The fire department’s current rating is three. But ISO rating aside, the lack of a training captain within the department has affected the amount and type of training firefighters receive, the chief believes.

Funding for training was cut from the city budget in 2010 and the lack of a training captain had been identified by Sorensen’s predecessor. Money was eventually budgeted for the 2013-14 fiscal year, but the position was never filled.

Also as part of the reorganization of the department, Sorensen has promoted firefighter/paramedic Matt Jarka to lieutenant – taking over Decker’s previous position — and has created the position of “executive officer” to fill the administrative responsibilities of the deputy chief. The deputy chief’s position has been vacant since September when Sorensen, then deputy chief, was elevated to acting fire chief.

The executive officer will receive a salary of $96,284, which is $20,600 less than the deputy fire chief received. In addition, the department will not fill the vacant administrative assistant position or the part-time position of emergency preparedness coordinator, which is also now vacant. Both jobs will be handled by the executive officer, Sorensen said.

Overall, there will be an annual savings of $90,085 for the fire department, he wrote in the memo to the City Council.

thanks Dan