Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Efficiency being the goal, the village of Lake Zurich is taking a closer look at its fire department’s organization and operations.

Joe Pozzo, a project manager with the International City/County Management Association’s Center for Public Safety Management (ICMA-CPSM), came before the Village Board on Feb. 17 with the findings of the operational analysis the village had authorized.

“This analysis is designed to provide the village with a thorough and unbiased review of services provided by the Lake Zurich Fire Rescue Department,” read the organization’s executive summary.

Overall, CPSM recommended the department keep its number of administrative staff, as well as its staff and command personnel, the same.

“You have a very good fire department — and I don’t say that every time I do a presentation, and I make that judgment because of the way that they staff and deploy now,” Pozzo said.

Officials had been wanting to study the village’s police and fire departments for the past few years to determine if and how the fire department could be operating more efficiently.

Between 2010 and 2014, constricted financial resources forced the village to reduce staff by 19 full-time positions, and officials wanted to know if the fire and police departments needed any reducing, as well.

To keep costs to a minimum, village officials decided to study the fire department and have Police Chief Steve Husak look at the police department on his own. The analysis of the fire department cost the village $50,000.

Beyond staffing, CPSM looked how the fire department handled and paid overtime for its operational staff, and determined that the department might be paying its employees time-and-a-half more often than was allowed under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Under its current schedule, the fire department’s average work week is 56 hours — or a maximum of 216 hours in a 27-day cycle. According to FLSA, the maximum number of hours a firefighter can work without getting overtime pay 53 — or 204 hours in a 27-day cycle.

Pozzo noted that leave hours or unproductive time, under the FLSA, could be deducted from scheduled time to reduce overtime liability. He suggested the village and the Lake Zurich Fire Rescue Department review and bargain how overtime was paid.

“It’s something that I think you should look at because I think you could bring some efficiencies back to the organization,” Pozzo said. “Because if you are not spending overtime dollars, then you can apply those dollars in other places.”

Other areas in which Pozzo said that fire department could be more efficient included spending less time at the hospital during ambulance transport runs, expanding the performance measures that the department’s employees are held to and combining two of the departments four stations — station 1, located at 321 S. Buesching Road, and station 4, located at 21970 Field Parkway in Deer Park.

thanks Dan

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