Archive for July 20th, 2016

Waukegan Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Waukegan officials preparing to field applications for new police officers and firefighters have sent recruiters to area technical schools and churches, set up booths at community events, and the mayor has spoken on both English- and Spanish-language radio stations in an effort to get more minority applicants.

City officials started planning for this biennial process months ahead of the first applications being made available this month with the hope of addressing the common criticism raised by community activists, pastors and other local leaders that minorities — especially blacks and Latinos — are underrepresented in the departments.

Of Waukegan’s 150 police officers, 18 percent are Hispanic and 7 percent are black, according to numbers provided by city officials. Only six of the fire department’s 120 employees are black and three are Hispanic.

The city overall is 53.4 percent Hispanic and 19.2 percent black, according to 2010 census data.

Diversifying the departments was one of the commitments Mayor Wayne Motley made when he took office in spring 2013, but he said the need for a targeted effort to address the discrepancy was made abundantly clear during the monthslong mediation process the city has been working through with the Department of Justice and groups such as the NAACP and the Latino Advisory Committee.

Motley, who spent 26 years with the Waukegan Police Department before retiring in 2001 as a sergeant, said the question particularly bothered him because during his time on the force he remembers plenty of black officers.

The answer he’s been getting has a lot to do with the negative perception many in Waukegan’s black community have of the Waukegan Police Department, he said. City officials have been working on improving that perception through recommendations made by the Citizens for Progress Committee established by the mayor last fall and those set to be implemented as a result of the Department of Justice mediation.

The hope is that the recruitment efforts will do more than just lead to more diversified police and fire departments, Deputy Police Chief Mark Stevenson said.

Fire Chief George Bridges Jr., who is African-American, said the plan is to build on the conversations that are happening as part of the recruitment process, including through youth programs such as the Waukegan Explorer Post for 15- to 21-year-olds who are interested in pursuing a career as a firefighter and paramedic. Bridges added that the departments have also been focused on reaching out to girls.

The fire department has five women on staff, three of whom are administrative personnel, Bridges said. The police department has 16 women on staff, and four are Hispanic, three are black and one is Native American, Stevenson said.

These efforts will continue past the recruitment process, which takes place every two years when the departments test applicants and prepare their hiring lists, he said.

The actual application process is being tweaked as well to give a greater priority to Waukegan natives, Motley said.

Much of how police and fire departments choose their new hires is dictated by state law, which sets up a point system that takes into consideration the results of physical ability and written tests as well as whether the applicant is a veteran or meets other criteria. Departments can also adopt their own criteria that can earn applicants additional preference points.

The city of Waukegan has always given extra points to those that live in the city, but officials are also going to be giving a boost to graduates of Waukegan High School, Motley said. They’ve also eliminated preference points for college graduates, something that disproportionately helped white applicants even though a college degree is not an entry-level requirement.

Whether all these efforts will actually translate into more diverse departments is still unknown, Bridges said.

“The big push this time was to make sure that everybody had an opportunity to know of the test, and then they had to make a decision about whether they want to be part of it,” Motley said. “As far as informing the public, we have gone above and beyond.”

Applications for the Waukegan Fire Department are available through July 29 and due by 4 p.m. Aug. 5. The Waukegan Police Department will be accepting applications through 4 p.m. Sept. 1. Information about both processes are available on the city’s website,


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Waukegan Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Two men were rescued from a small exterior elevator that became stuck Tuesday at the Waukegan Generating Station coal plant on Waukegan’s lakefront.

The men became stranded shortly after 10 a.m., according to Waukegan Fire Department Battalion Chief Mark DeRose, who wasn’t sure how long they had been trapped before firefighters were called. The 3-foot-by-3-foot exterior elevator became stuck about 130 feet in the air.

Two high-angle rescue techs were sent up an access ladder to a catwalk, which had to be stabilized before they could rappel down to the two employees. The men already were wearing safety harnesses, and firefighters dropped them some rope. Both were removed safely.

DeRose described the elevator as very old, adding that Tuesday’s incident was not in the area where the power plant took down an emissions stack earlier this year. The Greenwood Avenue plant is owned by New Jersey-based NRG Energy.

The two men trapped in the elevator were contractors installing emission testing equipment on the Unit 7 stack, David Gaier, an NRG spokesman, said.

Personnel from fire departments in Libertyville, Countryside, Lincolnshire, Round Lake, Great Lakes, Gurnee, North Chicago and Lake Bluff all responded. DeRose said a crew from Lakeland Larsen Elevator in Waukegan also assisted.

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Chicago Firefighter Lorenzo Douglas (more)

Excerpts from the

A Rogers Park man has been charged in a June hit-and-run crash that killed a Chicago firefighter.

Simeon Barrientas, 22, was charged with a felony count of failing to report an accident that resulted in death and a misdemeanor count of driving without a driver’s license, according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department.

Barrientas was arrested after he was identified as the driver of a van that struck 43-year-old Lorenzo Douglas as he stood near his parked car in the 6500 block of North Ashland Avenue around 7:30 p.m. on June 12.

Barrientas also hit three parked cars before fleeing.  He lives about half a mile away, in the 1600 block of West Farwell Avenue.

Douglas, who joined the Chicago Fire Department in 2012, was taken in critical condition to Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. He was later transferred to Presence Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines, where he died July 5.

Barrientas was scheduled to appear in Cook County bond court Wednesday.

thanks Dan

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Tri-State FPD back in the news (more)

From the

We see that DuPage County State’s Attorney charged a (former) Winfield Fire Protection District person deputy chief with felony forgery and official misconduct for what appears to be presenting a forged college diploma. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at what we believe may be an even worse case in DuPage County.

We wrote numerous articles on the Tri-State Fire Protection District regarding actions of the chief and one of the trustees, and now we have the audit that was performed and it pretty much validates everything we found and reported on as well as numerous other concerns.  For example:

“Although FSI submitted the highest initial bid to the RFP, TFPD ultimately chose FSI to provide the ambulances. FSI subsequently lowered its price (taking out of consideration the Stryker Power Loader) to a level similar to Alexis. Additionally, TFPD purchased a used ambulance from FSI (approximately $170,000) without a competitive bidding or RFP process.

Chief Mancione dealt primarily with Jeff LeBeda at FSI. However, it is known that TFPD Trustee Michael Orrico was an employee of FSI during this time period.

TFPD accepted the proposal of FSI and received a final invoice (for one ambulance) via email on November 14, 2014. Addenda to the September 29, 2014, contract were dated December 12, 2014.

On January 8, 2015, Jeff LeBeda at FSI communicated to Chief Mancione that he was speaking with Trustee Orrico regarding changes that needed to be made to one of the ambulances.

The price and specifications on the acquired ambulances changed several times during the process.  However, what did not change during this time was the fact that Trustee Orrico (an employee of FSI) filed State of Economic Interests forms with the County of DuPage that declared (from 2010-2015) that he had no conflicts of interest with his duties to TFPD. It should also be noted that Trustee Orrico appears to not have disclosed his affiliation with FSI during any TFPD board meetings in which he participated.

A review of the FSI website lists Jeff LeBeda as the Illinois sales manager and Mike Orrico as an Illinois sales representative (as of June 1, 2016)”

I outlined in great detail what appeared to be a class 4 Felony act on that very topic.  I am pleased to see what we found for free has been validated by auditors that probably charged ten’s of thousands of dollars to confirm.  The question now, will the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office investigate these activities and charge anyone?  Let’s be honest, a trustee not disclosing his conflict of interest while purchasing ambulances from the very company that he is the Illinois sales representative for clearly is self-enrichment.  Not to mention presenting an Economic Disclosure Statement that is false, making it a forgery as it misrepresents the truth.  Not much different than a forged college diploma!

“It was discovered that there was damage to the roof of the station (see A. above) and that repairs would need to be implemented in order to sell the station.

A proposal dated November 20, 2014, was presented to TFPD by MI Construction and Roofing (a company owned and operated by former Chief Jack Mancione).  This company is also associated with another Mancione run company – Werk Management (a full-service community association property manager).

MI Construction and Roofing is located in Woodridge, IL. Its website utilizes an internet address of “”. Total Cost of the proposal was $6,710.

The company’s CEO is Lisa Luna. Ms. Luna is noted as a “maintenance supervisor” for Werk Management. She is not listed on the MI Construction and Roofing website.

A $9,000 credit was given by TFPD to HAC Holdings, LLC at the closing of the transaction.

It appears that the representative of HAC Holdings LLC (Bill Remkus) and Chief Mancione continued to communicate with regard to the roof repairs well beyond the sale date. In fact, on March 17, 2015, Bill Remkus contacted Chief Mancione with regard to meeting to talk about the roof repairs.

Chief Mancione responded to Bill Remkus that same day utilizing a TFPD email account and utilizing a signature as follows:
Field Response:
Jack L. Mancione
Chief Administrative Officer”

Although the chief fled from office after we exposed his malfeasance on multiple fronts, it does appear he may have been doing business utilizing the fire department resources and possibly contracting out for work on matters that he had influence over.  In the above case, it appears the fire department (was) offered a large discount because of the roofing problems and considering communications took place with the chief after the sale regarding roof repairs, this may also be a class 4 Felony.  Again, will the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office investigate these matters and make a determination?

We spent a very brief amount of time looking into the Tri-State Fire Protection District and uncovered a litany of problems.  It appears a new group of trustees has taken the bull by the horns and is actually cleaning things up.  My only suggestion to them, request prosecutions for the crimes committed because if you don’t send the message and hold them accountable those same violators will leach off yet another public body and continue to harm the taxpayers.

thanks Dan

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