Posts Tagged Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire District Chief Peter Van Dorpe

Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD news

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The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District can start restoring services that have been cut and setting aside funds for long-term needs after an emergency and rescue tax was passed Tuesday, Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe said. About 7,790 voters – or 54 percent – voted yes, and 6,593 voters – or 46 percent – voted no, according to unofficial results. The district, which serves about 40,000 residents in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills, is expecting the tax to generate about $800,000 a year.

The 0.1 percent tax will add about $65 on the property tax bill of the owner of a $200,000 house. District voters rejected the same referendum in the March primary by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.

About half of the funds gained from the tax are expected to go toward the department’s vehicle replacement fund. The department also plans on putting an ambulance back in service that has been out of commission for about two years, taking care of deferred building repairs, waiving fees insurance won’t cover for patients being transported to the hospital and planning to set aside money for a dive team.

Some residents have questioned why the district needed the tax when it had a little less than $200,000 surplus in fiscal 2016, Van Dorpe said.

He said the district’s 2016 budget was prepared before the March referendum results were in, and the department anticipated it would get the money needed to make repairs at its stations. When the referendum did not pass, the projects were deferred, so the money set aside for them never was used, he said. The surplus also did not provide enough funds for long-term planning, he said.

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New fire chief for Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD

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Peter Van Dorpe was in for a change when he was hired nearly two years ago as assistant fire chief of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District. He spent the first 33 years of his career at the Chicago Fire Department, where he eventually worked his way up to become chief of the training division.

In a fire department of 5,000 employees, his job description was carved out for him, he said. But when he moved to the fire protection district, which has about 70 people, he had to be a jack of all trades.

He was recently chosen to replace Fire Chief Patrick Mullen, who retires Aug. 7.

“He’s eminently qualified to take over the position,” Mullen said, adding that Van Dorpe’s extensive experience in the field was a big reason he originally was hired. “He’s very open and easygoing. He has a unique ability to make connections with people.”

Mullen was hired at the fire protection district only months before Van Dorpe during a large administrative turnover. Under Mullen, the organization also formed and adopted a strategic plan, which Van Dorpe said would likely set the groundwork for financial and organizational development.

The best part about the fire protection district, and a large reason Van Dorpe accepted the offer to become chief, is that positions are often filled internally, he said. Officials are in the process of hiring the next assistant fire chief, which will likely be announced next week.

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Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD promotes new fire chief

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The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District will get a new fire chief in August from within its own ranks.

The district’s board voted Wednesday to promote Assistant Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe to fire chief. Van Dorpe said he agreed to replace retiring Fire Chief Patrick Mullen knowing that he has a strong team to lead and some financial hurdles to overcome.

Van Dorpe will be in charge of the approximately 66 part- and full-time firefighters and staff. He sees his biggest challenge as managing the fluctuating costs of health insurance because of changes in the Affordable Care Act. He said rates could change by 20 percent to 30 percent, which would affect the agency’s $9 million budget.

Trustees had Van Dorpe pegged as the next chief when he became assistant fire chief in October 2013 after 33 years with the Chicago Fire Department.

Van Dorpe’s salary for his first nine months on the job will be $93,517. His salary will increase to $127,300 on May 1 and will continue at that rate until April 30, 2018. At that point, Van Dorpe and district trustees can negotiate a new salary, according to his two-and-a-half-year contract.

Van Dorpe will receive five weeks of vacation time from August to May, and six weeks in 2016. Starting May 1, Van Dorpe will receive 10 sick days. He also is allowed three personal days a year. The district also will contribute 6 percent to a retirement health care account and pay for his health and life insurance, the contract states. The deal also provides Van Dorpe with a vehicle to use for official purposes.

Mullen announced he was retiring for personal reasons and has been chief for two years. Van Dorpe has started searching for his replacement within the department, and plans to promote from within the ranks.

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