Posts Tagged Greg Benson

Victorville Fire Department hires former Illinois chief

Excerpts from the

The City of Victorville, CA has tapped Greg Benson, a former fire chief with more than 35 years of public safety experience, to serve as the head of the Victorville Fire Department.

Benson will oversee the city’s underway transition from San Bernardino County Fire to its own agency. He is expected to begin April 23. The choice comes after conclusion of a nationwide search for a top official. A native of Illinois, Benson most recently oversaw the formation of the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District in Illinois, serving as the fire chief there for five years.

City officials said his experience leading the establishment of a new department and his focus on community engagement were major factors in their decision.

“In addition to leading the formation of a new fire department, Greg has helped fire departments nationwide achieve highly coveted accreditation status,” Interim City Manager Keith Metzler said in a statement. “These experiences along with his sincere commitment to community involvement make Greg the ideal person to lead our city’s fire department, oversee its formation, and ensure it achieves service excellence.”

Since retiring in 2015, Benson has acted as a professional services consultant assisting fire departments nationwide to achieve accreditation status. Benson will immediately be charged with staffing the new department. But in the long-run, officials hope he can garner accreditation status for the new department — a status reportedly achieved by less than 1 percent of the nation’s municipal fire agencies.

City officials have said a reactivation of its decade-long dormant city fire department will reduce spending by 5 percent annually and equate to a $3.8 million savings in the first five years — a shift supported by the majority council. After the first five years, officials expect cost savings of roughly 14 percent annually and also 70 percent less in pension costs than if the city were to continue with the San Bernardino County Fire.

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Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District hires fire chief

The Daily Herald has a series of recent articles which reference the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District.

The new Fox River Countryside Fire/Rescue District has a new chief to guide its evolution. It’s a task he’s already familiar with.

District officials Tuesday announced Greg Benson as the first fire chief of the district. Benson is already associated with the district as trustees hired him last month to be the technical adviser for the selection of fire equipment and seeking bids for manpower and emergency services with private companies. That process eventually led to the selection of Wheaton-based American Emergency Services as the new fire and ambulance provider. Under the deal, Benson will be an employee of AES, not the district.

The complete article can be found HERE.

The Daily Herald has an editorial about the emergence of the new fire department HERE entitled

Fire district heads down risky path

Leaders of the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District didn’t feel they could afford to pay the rate the City of St. Charles charges to provide the district with fire service, so they decided to go it alone. They treated this too much like a simple business decision, and the result could be disastrous.

Until now, the rural district — which serves Campton and Wayne townships and portions of Wayne and Campton Hills — has existed only on paper. It has had no equipment or personnel. Merely a board and a tax levy, with which it paid the City of St. Charles for fire service and Tri-City Ambulance for rescue.

… the district fire board wants to control its own destiny by building two stations, hiring a chief, buying trucks and ambulances and contracting with a company to provide both fire and ambulance service. At the outset, at least, the deal would cost the fire district slightly less than what St. Charles wanted.

Another recent article quotes Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay as saying that the fire district board members should be elected instead of appointed.

McConnaughay says fire board should be elected, not appointed

Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay suggested Wednesday that St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte should look in the mirror when trying to figure out how the city lost the fire and ambulance service contract for the Fox River Countryside Fire/Rescue District.

In the aftermath of fire district trustees voting to create a new fire department and drop the city, DeWitte said McConnaughay is responsible for the department’s success or failure. McConnaughay appoints four of the five trustees.

But on Wednesday McConnaughay said DeWitte is the guy responsible for district President Jim Gaffney’s appointment.

The Kane County Chronicle has an article HERE about the new chief.

Fox River and Countryside district names Wayne resident as chief

Benson has served as the district’s technical adviser since January. Previously, he worked for fire departments in St. Charles, Aurora, Batavia and Elgin, where he served as battalion chief, according to a news release.

Benson will be employed by the district’s service provider, American Emergency Services.

AES, along with input from district trustees and the Citizen Advisory Committee, selected Benson from more than 50 applicants and five finalists, AES President Gary Jensen said.

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