Posts Tagged Barrington & Countryside FPD

Barrington Countryside FPD updates

The Daily Herald has an article updating changes to the Barrington Countryside FPD.

Less than two months before they’ll be operating independently, Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District trustees Monday [added an] automatic-aid agreement … with the Fox River Grove Fire Protection District to ones they approved two weeks ago with the fire departments of Lake Zurich and Long Grove.

Still being pursued are auto-aid agreements with the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, East Dundee, Palatine, Carpentersville and the village of Barrington. The 48-square-mile Barrington Countryside district will stop receiving service from the Barrington Fire Department by contract on Jan. 1.

Despite a request from Inverness Village President Jack Tatooles, Barrington Countryside is no longer pursuing an auto-aid agreement with the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District to provide first response to the west side of Inverness. Barrington Countryside board President Tom Rowan said three offers for a deal were rejected by Palatine Rural, which is seeking only a significant portion of property taxes in exchange for service to that area.

Earlier Monday, Palatine Rural board President Glen Grosch said he still expected a further meeting with Barrington Countryside to discuss the possibility of a deal.

Barrington Countryside trustees Monday did authorize Fire Chief Jeff Swanson to hire three part-time assistant chiefs from private contractor Paramedic Services of Illinois, to work a combined total of no more than 48 hours a week. Swanson said these assistant chiefs, who will work full-time jobs elsewhere, will provide the next level of management in the department below himself.

Though a full-time deputy chief position is being created on paper, it will be left deliberately vacant to see if the department can get by without it, Swanson said.

thanks Dan

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Barrington FD & Fire Protection District update

The Daily Herald has an article about the Village of Barrington Fire Department and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District dividing their assets for what will become the two separate departments after the 1st of January.

The Barrington Fire Department and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District on Friday took the last major step before they separate on Jan. 1, by dividing up the vehicles and equipment they co-own.

… both sides expressed satisfaction with the division.

Officials of the 48-square-mile fire district just outside of Barrington also found out this week that 16 of the 19 laid-off Barrington firefighters to whom it offered jobs have applied with them. Barrington Countryside offered these firefighters their current union salaries and vacation time, but not a continuation of their pensions.

Rowan said it is important to the fire district to retain firefighters with as much experience and institutional memory of the fire district as work there now.

The rest of the fire district’s roster of 33 full-time firefighters will be filled with staff provided by private contractor Paramedic Services of Illinois.

“I think the residents are going to be really pleased,” Rowan said. “We have the equipment we need and the personnel we need.”

On Jan. 1, the fire district will terminate its long-running contract for service from the Barrington Fire Department.

The newly divided equipment should be moved to its new locations among the village’s fire station and the fire district’s two stations in Barrington Hills and Lake Barrington about a week or two before the Jan. 1 split, Rowan said.

The contractual relationship between the village and fire district will be officially finished at the shift change at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, he added.

Some of the previous posts on this split can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE.

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Barrington village determines new FD staffing model

The Barrington village board met last night and had a full house in attendance. One item on the agenda was a staffing proposal for the Barrington Fire Department as of january 1, 2014 when the agreement with the Barrington & Countryside FPD expires. The Barrington Courier-Review has an article outlining the new staffing and the meeting surrounding the vote.

In a momentous step to restructure the fire and emergency services in the Barrington area, the Barrington Village Board voted unanimously Monday to lay off 19 firefighter-paramedics at the end of the year.

The layoffs result from the termination of a long-standing intergovernmental agreement that had the village department and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District working together over an area of more than 50 square miles.

To reduce operational costs from personnel and equipment and rein in future insurance and pension obligations, Barrington has opted to focus on its five-square-mile territory. The protection district, which decided to terminate the agreement effective Jan. 1, 2014 will continue to serve 46 square miles in the surrounding communities.

With the 7-0 vote Monday, Barrington trustees put an end to months of emotional debate by making official a plan to start next year with a department of 19 firefighter-paramedics.

“The new staffing plan costs a little more than minimal staffing, but that will be money well spent if it provides additional services and increases public safety in Barrington,” said Village President Karen Darch in a statement after the vote. “However, in the long term, we are removing a major burden from taxpayers — the burden of paying skyrocketing pension and disability payments for employees that have served outside our community.”

He noted an $80,000 difference in annual costs between the options. Trustees ultimately decided to go with a staff of 19, with 19 layoffs.

“With enhanced EMS service, we are better equipped to respond to our most frequent calls for service — those that come from residents in need of emergency medical attention,” said Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie. “Instead of relying on response from miles away, we can dispatch a second ambulance right from our own firehouse. This means we can get help to where it’s needed faster and reduce response times when we have overlapping calls.”

Before trustees made their decision Monday, several residents and stakeholders pleaded with the board to reconsider.

Char McLear, a retired assistant fire chief in Barrington, called the move an arrogant and self-serving attack on the fire department. “This is the real world and there is no room for politics,” McLear said. “This is politics, not fiscal responsibility. “I’m outraged at your irresponsible actions in regards to the fire department. We in this village have to live with the ramifications of your decision.”

In response to the layoffs, the protection has expressed an interest in hiring as many laid off Barrington emergency responders as possible through its contract with Paramedic Services of Illinois, a private company. However, those hired by PSI face the possibility of working outside their current pension plans.

In explaining the staffing decisions, Darch noted that keeping 18 personnel on staff would cost the village about $80,000 more a year above the fire department’s planned budget for 2014. She added that the extra two firefighters would, however, give the department more flexibility.

Personnel would operate out of Fire Station 1 on three shifts, each with a dedicated shift commander.

Village officials began discussing the separation in 2012 amid disagreements with the district regarding the hiring of additional personnel and the purchase of new equipment.

The report stated that the fire department’s automatic aid agreements with the Lake Zurich Fire Department, the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District and the Long Grove Fire Protection District would stay in place. For mutual aid, the fire department would still be part of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, as it has been for several decades.

Other posts on this topic can be referenced HERE and HERE.

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Barrington & Countryside FPD update

The Barrington Courier Review has an article about the split between the Village of Barrington and the Barrington & Countryside FPD.

Barrington, fire district to proceed separately

BARRINGTON — A consultant’s report presented Monday night to the Barrington Village Board revealed that 20 firefighters and paramedics could be laid off when the village and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District begin operating as separate entities on Jan. 1, 2014.

During a separate meeting Monday night, the Fire Protection District announced former New Lenox fire chief Jeff Swanson as its interim administrator.

Speaking at the Village Board meeting, William Balling, from WRB Consultants, outlined two options for the Barrington department. The first option recommended a total staffing of 16 sworn personnel, including 14 operations and two administrative positions. That staffing plan would result in 22 layoffs. The second option recommended a total staffing of 18 personnel, including 16 in operations and two administrative positions.

In either case, the staffing change would be a considerable decrease from the 39 sworn personnel under the expiring intergovernmental agreement with the Fire Protection District.

“We need to retool and redesign,” said Balling. “We think this is a logical progression.”

Balling recommended staffing the Barrington station with 18 personnel, which would cost about $80,000 more per year than the 16 staff model.

The board is expected to make a decision at its next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 19.

In explaining the downsizing, village leaders cited the much smaller geographic area — about five square miles — that village firefighters will serve starting in 2014. Village Manager Jeff Lawler said Fire Station 1, located in Barrington, receives about five to six calls a day, most of which are emergency medical calls.

As part of the reorganization, the village intends to reduce the number of personnel on ambulances and other apparatus from three to two.

Lawler said this will provide Station 1 with greater flexibility.

“What it’s doing is it’s aligning the assets and personnel at Station 1 with the most common calls, which are EMS calls,” he said.

During his presentation, Balling said many neighboring cities including Arlington Heights and Palatine have adopted a two-person ambulance model.

“Two-person ambulances are not a new phenomenon,” he said, adding that there could be flexibility on that number if needed.

Last month, the district proposed that the village lease 18 Barrington firefighters to the district for a two-year period. During that time, the district would consider a tax levy referendum to fund pensions and health care costs for the firefighters.

Village President Karen Darch cited legacy costs, including pensions and disability liabilities that could cost taxpayers millions, as a reason not to lease the 18 firefighters.

On Monday night, Darch outlined the department’s budget, including current operations, infrastructure, employee pensions and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds. Her goal was to explain that every dollar that goes into pension funds is a dollar that cannot support those other service areas.

“We have a responsibility to spend the revenue that comes into this village wisely,” Darch said.

But many residents in the board room audience expressed concern that the level and quality of emergency services will suffer after the separation.

“Without a doubt, putting money before safety is a horrible choice,” said Barrington resident Carrie Raia, expressing concern about longer response times.

Residents also expressed concern about first responders getting caught behind trains that run through town. Darch, however, said Barrington has a cooperative relationship with Lake Zurich Rural Fire Protection District, which supports Barrington operations when needed.

But residents remained undeterred in criticizing the board for the proposed reductions in personnel.

“This is a catastrophe now and I don’t know if we can stop it or not,” said Barrington resident Char McLear, who served as assistant to the Barrington fire chief before retiring.

Balling explained that his report was based on incident coverage, station availability and location, operational staffing, apparatus and mobile equipment, infrastructure, and automatic and mutual aid agreements and special response times.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” he said.

Also on Monday night, the Fire Protection District’s board approved a new contract with the private firm Paramedic Services of Illinois to provide emergency personnel in 2014.

The district board also discussed the possibility of levying a new tax to fund pensions applied to career firefighters furloughed from the village. The levy could appear on the March 2014 primary ballot at the earliest.

“The district has to put that question to the voters,” said Robert Buhs, a consultant and executive director of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association.

Our last post can be viewed HERE.

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2nd Alarm house fire in South Barrington 7-9-13

Barrington firefighters were assisted by several departments this afternoon at 4 Terra Vita Court in South Barrington.

This from Tyler Tobolt:

Barrington 2nd Alarm Structure Fire at 4 Terra Vita Court in South Barrington

large house burns in South Barrington

Tyler Tobolt photo

large house burns in South Barrington

Tyler Tobolt photo

large house burns in South Barrington

Tyler Tobolt photo

large house burns in South Barrington

Tyler Tobolt photo

large house burns in South Barrington

Tyler Tobolt photo

large house burns in South Barrington

Tyler Tobolt photo

large house burns in South Barrington

Tyler Tobolt photo

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Barrington Countryside FPD update

More from the Daily Herald on the discussions between the Village of Barrington and the Barrington & Countryside FPD:

Barrington officials Friday said they didn’t believe a proposal from the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District to lease 18 firefighters for two years really addressed the village’s concerns over the long-term pension and disability costs for these employees.

Such an arrangement would keep these firefighters village employees and such costs a village responsibility, Village President Karen Darch said.

“They don’t really define what they mean by ‘lease,’” she said of the district’s proposal.

The offer has added another step to what had seemed the intended end of the village and fire district’s long-standing contractual relationship on Jan. 1.

The district covers a 48-square-mile area outside of Barrington, but has always contracted its fire protection and paramedic services from the village’s fire department.

The district’s expansion plans — which include hiring seven more firefighters and planning for yet a further station — have brought what could be seen as a natural end to the cost-effective relationship the two agencies once had, Barrington Village Manager Jeff Lawler said.

The village provides twice as many employees to the district as the village’s own jurisdiction requires. Though the district pays its share of these employees’ costs, it is the village that remains on the hook for pension and disability payments whenever the district ends the contract.

Darch said village taxpayers shouldn’t be responsible for more than the costs of the employees the village needs.

Even under the two-year lease arrangement the district is proposing, there’s a potential risk of $160 million to the village if all 18 firefighters became catastrophically injured, Darch said.

This is based on a combination of their ages and future earning potentials. A catastrophic injury to a 26-year-old firefighter could cost the village $11.5 million in disability payments, she said.

District board President Tom Rowan said further discussion was intended all along. He added that the proposal was necessarily sketchy as many details would need to be worked out mutually.

The firefighters union is supporting the district’s proposal, even if it requires further discussion, union President Eric Brouilette said.

The district opened bids from five private firefighter-paramedic firms this week, offering a first year of service for amounts ranging from $2.6 million to $3.9 million.

But these prices are based on the firms’ costs and don’t take into consideration the higher experience levels the district would like to retain from the firefighters it currently receives from the village.

This week’s proposal seeks to combine 18 of them — who would otherwise be laid off by the village — with firefighters provided by the private firms.

“We spent a lot of money on training,” Rowan said of the Barrington firefighters. “We know how good they are. And they know the area.”

But district trustees are considering a tax-hike referendum to provide such pensions, which could appear on ballots as early as March 2014.

The district’s jurisdiction includes parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

Barrington, meanwhile, has hired a consultant to recommend a new structure for its fire department after the anticipated expiration of its contract with the district.

The entire article is HERE.

thanks Chris

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Barrington Countryside FPD update

More information on the discussions between the Village of Barrington and the Barrington & Countryside FPD from the Daily Herald:

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is proposing a new model for continued cooperation with the Barrington Fire Department, rather than breaking off their contractual relationship completely at the end of the year.

Under the proposal, the fire district would lease 18 firefighters from the village of Barrington for two years.

These firefighters — roughly half the amount the district wishes to employ — would work for the district’s new chief and alongside other firefighters contracted from a private firm.

The benefit to the district, according to board President Tom Rowan, is that the experience and expertise of today’s workforce would not be lost.

“One of the appeals is we’d already know we have staff we’re familiar with and who know the area.”

The appeal to the village, he hopes, is that this agreement would have the district pay the full costs of these employees — salaries, insurance and pension benefits.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch recently said that one of the financial pressures the village is feeling from the current contract with the district is that Barrington must pay the long-term pension and disability costs for a workforce much larger than it needs itself.

The district covers a 48-square-mile area just outside Barrington which includes portions of Barrington Hills, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

Though a separate tax body, the district has always provided fire and paramedic services to its constituents by contracting for staff from Barrington.

Because the district wants to increase its staffing levels but the village doesn’t, plans have been in progress to end their contractual relationship on Jan. 1. The district’s separation plans have gone as far as opening bids for service from five private firefighter-paramedic firms.

The entire article can be found HERE.

Another article pertaining to the dispute from the Daily Herald:

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District Monday took another major step in its journey to independence by opening bids from private firefighter-paramedic firms to replace its contract for service from the Barrington Fire Department in 2014.

But district trustees took no action to approve any of the five Chicago-area firms that applied for the job, and said it was too early to know how their annual costs might be affected by such a change.

Each firm bid on annual costs over three years. Bids for the first year ranged from $2.6 million to $3.9 million.

Each bid was for personnel alone. The district already has stations in Barrington Hills and Lake Barrington, and expects to divide the vehicles it co-owns with the village of Barrington between the two taxing bodies later this year.

The district’s consultant, Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Executive Director Robert Buhs, said the district is closely adhering to the timeline for the transition which was laid out in January. A list of 127 tasks is being systematically checked off, including hiring an interim administrator in July.

Buhs said he was recently contacted by Barrington about the possibility of signing an automatic-aid agreement in which both agencies would respond to each other’s calls based on proximity.

District trustees appeared both bemused and amused by this as they considered their communication with the village to be lacking.

“It appears (Barrington officials are) doing the agreement and then giving it to us to sign, which seems very unrealistic,” district Trustee Tom Long said.

Fellow Trustee Paul Heinze suggested it could be made No. 128 on the district’s priority list.

This complete article can be found HERE.

thanks Chris

We have had multiple post on this topic which can be traced back through the most recent article.

 

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