Excerpts from ChicagoCBSlocal.com:

More than a dozen firefighters in the tiny suburb of Merrionette Park have resigned, or were not re-appointed, leaving the department at less than half-strength, but the fire chief said the department is not missing a beat.

Merrionette Park is less than a half-square-mile in area, and is served by a fire department whose firefighters are paid only when they’re called to duty. Merrionette Park firefighters are appointed on an annual basis to their paid on-call jobs.

Tony Calzaretta, vice president of the Merrionette Park Firefighters Association, said he and 13 other firefighters resigned after Fire Chief Tom Wendt replaced three longtime high-ranking officers – a deputy chief, a captain, and a lieutenant.

Wendt took over as head of the department after longtime Chief Len Edling retired at the end of April. He said the firefighters who resigned were not showing up for most calls anyway. He plans to appoint 10 new firefighters at the next village board meeting on May 17. In addition, starting next month, two firefighters will be stationed at the firehouse 24 hours a day.

Calzaretta said the new firefighters won’t have the knowledge or experience of those they will replace.

“What is going to happen is more of the experience that knows the town, that knows the rigs, that knows all this experience and knowledge is going to leave, and he’s going to replace it with outsiders and young people that have never worked in the fire service,” he said.

From the Merrionette Park Fire Fighters Association Facebook page:

The Merrionette Park Fire Fighters Association would like to take a moment to recognize the 17 (yes, seventeen) members that were not re-appointed by the village, or have resigned from service with the Department this week. These members have proven to be the backbone of the MPFD, with literally tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of combined hours serving this village. Whether it be answering the calls for Fires / EMS / Haz-Mat on a daily basis, or it be doing charity work throughout the area, or be it the countless hours of continuing training, or be it the countless hours of completely non-compensated time spent volunteering at the firehouse to provide some kind of coverage for the town, these members remained tried and true to the Merrionette Park Fire Department, truly giving it their all. Words cannot express the bond between these men and women. What they have gone through over the years is truly unbelievable. If you ask any firemen in the surrounding area what they think of where the MPFD was 10 years ago, to where it is now, I’m sure they’ll tell you its nothing short of amazing. These very men and women are the direct reason for that. We invite you to scroll some of these selected photos in this album from our facebook page to show you just a glimmer in the life’s of these members over the past several years. This is just the very tip of the iceberg of a combined 120 years of service spent together that will be leaving this village as of May 1, 2017. Listed below are the members and their years of service:

Katie Quinn Schneider- Dept. Secretary- 19 years of service (not reappointed)
Deputy Chief/EMT Pat Carter- 17 years of service (not reappointed)
Captain/Paramedic Tom Ziolkowski- 15 years of service (not reappointed)
Lt./EMT Jim Carter- 8 years of service(not reappointed)
Lt./Paramedic Tony Calzaretta – 7 years of service (resigned)
EMS Coordinator Shannon Ziolkowski- 8 years of service (resigned)
Engineer/Paramedic Kyle LaPorta- 6 years of service (resigned)
Engineer/Paramedic Joe LaPorta- 5 years of service (resigned)
FF/EMT Rick Whitlock- 6 years of service (resigned)
FF/Paramedic Mike Haas-6 years of service (resigned)
FF/Paramedic Jeff Goworowski- 4 years of service (resigned)
FF/Paramedic Scott Staal- 4 years of service (resigned)
FF/Paramedic Connor Hughes- 3 years of service (resigned)
FF/Paramedic Sean O’Connell-2 years of service (resigned)
FF/EMT Sean Devane- >1 year of service (resigned)
FF/EMT Mose Demasi- >1 year of service (resigned)
FF/EMT Chris Ibrahim>1 year of service (resigned)
*Lt. /Paramedic Joe Guarascio would make 18, as he has decided he will not be returning from his leave of absence- (7 years of service)

thanks Josh