Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Mundelein officials took another step with restructuring the fire department after trustees recently decided to continue a plan that first was acted on last year to reorganize the department. The 4-3 vote June 24, approving the restructuring, eliminates a vacant lieutenant position and adds a new firefighter to the department which now includes four lieutenants and 20 firefighter/paramedics. Last year, the department employed six lieutenants and 15 firefighters. Mundelein also uses six firefighters from a private firm.

The board’s vote formalizes the staffing situation. It proved to be much closer than in February 2018, when a larger majority approved the first staffing change and the sale of a 100-foot ladder truck following a long debate involving members of the Mundelein firefighter’s union and its supporters.

With the latest vote, the mayor, who supported the restructuring plan in 2018, was required to break a split among village board members, giving the latest proposed staffing changes village approval.

A portion of another ordinance that trustees recently addressed also seemed to indicate a desire to employ three lieutenants, describing how the fire department functioned responsively and safely with three lieutenants up to 2007. Between 2007 and 2018, the department used two lieutenants per shift, with one at each of the two fire stations. The ordinance seems to depart from the original staffing decision in 2018, when the stated goal was to have four lieutenants — one for each 24-hour shift and a training lieutenant who could fill in on a shift when others are on leave.

But following the vote on June 24, the fire chief said the goal of employing four lieutenants still remains the same. He said officials have not decided, yet, if the fourth lieutenant will be a training officer or would stay on one of the three shifts. He also pointed to a June 2018 decision to hire three additional firefighters, which were paid for with money previously being spent on overtime, and money saved when the first lieutenant position was eliminated.  

The staffing change has resulted in fewer firefighter/paramedics working 72 consecutive hours, which involve an extra 24-hour shift at overtime wages in between regularly scheduled 24-hour shifts.