Posts Tagged Mundelein FIre Department

New engine for Mundelein

From the Pierce Flickr page:

Pierce Mundelein Fire Department, IL 32974

Mundelein FD fire engine

Pierce composite

thanks Al

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New area apparatus orders

from fire apparatus magazine

Fox Lake Fire Protection District – Alexis top-mount pumper with a Spartan Metro Star cab and chassis, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon tank. Delivery in May 2019.
Mundelein Fire Department – Pierce Enforcer pumper 1,500-gpm pump, 750-gallon tank. Delivery in April 2019.
thanks Ron

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Firefighters often are called heroes. They’re trained to run into burning buildings to save people and property. But Mundelein firefighter-paramedics Dan Mastandrea and Dan Buhrmester are being hailed as heroes for acts of kindness. After treating an 84-year-old resident who fell while doing yard work last month, Mastandrea and Buhrmester finished the chores for her.

Buhrmester, a 10-year veteran of the department, and Mastandrea, who’s been with the department about a year, were part of a crew that responded to the July 17 call. The woman injured her hip. A neighbor called 911.

On the ambulance ride, the woman expressed disappointment that she wasn’t going to be able to finish her landscaping work. After they dropped her off at the hospital, Mastandrea and Buhrmester returned to the house. Still wearing their uniforms, they edged the lawn, watered flowers, and then put the woman’s lawn equipment in a safe place when they were done. The work took 15 or 20 minutes. 

Fire Chief Bill Lark called Buhrmester and Mastandrea’s actions “a great example of helping someone in need and going above and beyond what is expected.”

thanks Dan

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Mundelein trustees have approved a plan to reserve land that one day could be the site of a new fire station in a heavily wooded area on the southeast side of the University of St. Mary of the Lake campus, just inside the main entrance on Route 176 and east of the Hawley Street split. 

The village board on Monday approved a letter of intent to lease the land from the Archdiocese of Chicago. The letter doesn’t commit the village to a lease or to building a new fire station. According to a joint statement from the university and the archdiocese, the university values its relationship with Mundelein and was glad to be able to accommodate the new fire station.

Both of Mundelein’s fire stations — the headquarters at 1000 N. Midlothian Road and a small station at 1300 S. Lake St. — are west of the Canadian National tracks that divide much of the town. Officials long have discussed building a fire station east of the tracks to be closer to residents and businesses in that part of town. 

Other possible sites for a third station that were discussed but rejected include the old village hall on Hawley Street and a former fire station on Seymour Avenue that’s now a public works facility.

The lease won’t cost the village anything right now. The deal gives Mundelein 30 rent-free months to examine the town’s fire safety needs, to ensure the location is the best spot for a station and to do financial analysis for the project.

If the village eventually builds a fire station on the property, rent will begin at $100,000 annually, according to the agreement. The rent may increase or decrease up to 5 percent annually based in inflation or deflation, the deal states.

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

On July 21, Mundelein will conduct candidate testing for three new firefighter positions created last month as part of an ongoing series of changes in the department.

In the last few months, village trustees have approved the hiring of a deputy fire chief, the elimination of the public safety director position in favor of a dedicated fire chief, the sale of a 100-foot ladder truck, and a reduction in the number of lieutenants.

One new firefighter was approved in February as part of the decision to eliminate a lieutenant position. The previous total of 15 full-time firefighters now rises to 19 after trustees approved adding three more positions on June 25. In addition to the career firefighters, the department also uses six contract firefighters from a private firm.

Fire Chief Bill Lark made the request and gave a brief explanation during the June 25 board meeting. Lark said some employees are out of the rotation due to injuries, military deployment or paid time off.

There have been rising tensions at the fire department between the village and Mundelein Professional Fire Fighters Local 4786. A letter sent by the union to trustees referenced an internal memo that allegedly informed employees of a plan to eliminate three of the department’s six lieutenant positions through attrition. The union expressed concerns over safety and urged trustees to vote against the plan. Union leaders filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Illinois Labor Relations Board against the village of Mundelein in late January.

Following a lengthy public debate, trustees on Feb. 26 voted to eliminate one lieutenant position and transfer duties previously listed under a vacant fire prevention job into the building department, while creating one new firefighter position.

At that time, Lark said the longterm goal was to eventually have four lieutenants instead of six and to hire two new firefighters this summer. He said one lieutenant would staff each 24-hour shift — instead of one at each station — and an administrative lieutenant would then substitute when other employees are injured or on vacation.

The eliminated lieutenant and fire prevention bureau job were vacant. Mundelein officials on numerous occasions said they had no intention of laying off employees.

Overtime spending reached more than $800,000 in 2017.

Now having committed to four new firefighter positions, Mundelein has gone beyond its previously disclosed plan.

Lark said the village still has five lieutenants and the village board has not formally voted to eliminate any other positions.

thanks Dan

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Mundelein on Monday appointed its first fire chief since 2015, moving away from a management structure that had the police chief in charge of both departments. Bill Lark, who has spent the last several years in various fire department leadership positions, was named the new chief. He was promoted to battalion chief in 2014, deputy chief in 2015, and the position of chief deputy chief in 2017.

Lark’s promotion follows the appointment of Darren Brents as deputy fire chief in April. Brents previously served as a training officer at the Palatine Fire Department, where he started in 1998.

Mundelein’s fire department had been operating with one deputy chief since January 2017 when Deputy Chief Ben Yoder retired and Lark took over the job.

The two moves come after Mundelein’s firefighters union in February filed an unfair labor practice charge against the village and publicly spoke out against an ordinance that reduced the number of lieutenants from six to four in order to hire extra firefighters. Among the complaints firefighters listed in a February letter to village trustees was the lack of a certified fire chief and other supervisors who could plan and lobby for the department.

Police Chief Eric Guenther was appointed director of public safety in August 2015. At the time, he was given a $971.66 per month for his duties with the fire department.

Shortly after Guenther’s appointment, conversations were held between Mundelein and the neighboring Countryside Fire Protection District on consolidation-related topics, like sharing of personnel in the wake of Mundelein’s vacancies. The two governments did not sign any agreements beyond standard mutual aid response.

In the final months of the management arrangement, the village sold a 100-foot ladder truck, contracted with Libertyville for shared use of their ladder truck, and changed staffing to have three lieutenants — one for each shift — and a training lieutenant instead of two lieutenants per shift.

Although the firefighters union objected and made claims that safety was at risk, Guenther and Lark said morale is slowly improving.

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Darren Brents has joined the Mundelein Fire Department as its newest deputy chief coming from the Palatine Fire Department, where he most recently served as division chief of training. He was sworn in during Monday night’s village board meeting, but he actually started in April 2.

The move comes during a controversial reorganization of the fire department’s command staff that includes the elimination of two shift lieutenant positions.

Brents, 46, of Des Plaines, started his career with the Villa Park Fire Department in 1997 and moved to Palatine in 1998 where he was a member of the department’s honor guard and dive team. His professional recognition includes a Chief’s Excellence Award for his efforts as the vice president of the Palatine Police and Fire Benevolent Association, a charity he co-founded to help police officers, firefighters, their families, and others in times of need.

The Mundelein job opened in January 2017 after then-deputy chief Bill Lark was named chief deputy chief. Brents was among 40 applicants for the post last fall and was selected shortly afterward with an annual salary of $133,955.

Also Monday, Lt. Brian Jones was sworn in as a battalion chief. He joined the department as a paid-on-call firefighter in 1996, became a full-time firefighter in 2000, and was promoted to lieutenant in 2014.

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

In 2017, the Mundelein Fire Department paid out over $800,000 in overtime wages, more than double the department’s overtime costs in 2014. When compared to other nearby Lake County fire departments and districts, Mundelein incurs significantly more overtime costs. Village officials are debating staffing structures at the fire department.

The village board on Feb. 26 voted 4-1 to reduce the number of lieutenant positions and plans to hire more firefighters. Budget workshops for the 2018-19 fiscal year will be held throughout April. During the meeting, the mayor showed the union’s eventual counter proposal that asked for across the board pay bumps and temporary pay hikes when firefighters fill in for lieutenants. 

Mundelein Professional Fire Fighters Local 4786 is challenging the plan to reduce the number of lieutenants. Union officers argue that the reduction creates safety issues. They said Mundelein’s planned staffing change doesn’t create more first responders firefighters, it simply rearranges the roles.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, reviews of the total amount of overtime paid out by the Mundelein Fire Department show $801,828 paid in overtime during 2017, $623,315 in 2016, $573,037 in 2015 and $354,508 in 2014.

Individually, two lieutenants earned more than $74,000 in overtime during 2017, two others earned more than $60,000, and the remaining two lieutenants earned more than $50,000. In contrast, one lieutenant earned $45,000 in overtime during 2014, while the rest earned $21,000 or less. Annual base pay for lieutenants ranges between $98,000 and $114,000, while Mundelein also contributes $25,753 per year to each employees’ pension and around $22,770 per year to each employees’ health insurance plan.

As for firefighter/paramedics, base pay ranges from $69,895 to $95,414 with similar pension and insurance contributions. Data shows firefighters with the most overtime in 2017 earned payouts of $62,000, $53,000, $46,000, $39,000, $33,000, and several in the $20,000 range. Firefighter overtime data from 2014 shows the top earner that year at $37,000, three in the $20,000 range, and the rest took home less.

Pioneer Press compared Mundelein’s base pay and overtime spending with that of the Countryside Fire Protection District, Grayslake Fire Protection District, Gurnee Fire Department, Highland Park Fire Department, and Libertyville Fire Department. All five agencies are responsible for roughly 30,000 residents, but each has its own distinct geography and response needs that prevent exact comparisons.

Mundelein’s fire department responded to 3,255 calls in 2017. The fire department has 33 employees which includes a receptionist who doesn’t respond to incidents. Officials officials said the change in staffing will result in one lieutenant per shift for a total of three, while a fourth lieutenant would do administrative work during the day and be available to substitute during vacations or when injuries occur. Currently, one lieutenant is at each of Mundelein’s two stations on every shift.

Organizational charts at the other six agencies reviewed shows a chief, at least one deputy chief, and each fire station staffing at least one lieutenant. Most of them show inspectors and public education officers who are also certified firefighters.

Libertyville has three stations that cover a downtown, industrial park, suburban neighborhoods, and unincorporated rural areas. They responded to 4,278 calls in 2016 and have 42 certified firefighters. They spent $312,700 in overtime in the 2016-17 fiscal year, $267,758 in 2015-16 and $235,277 in 2014-15. The top overtime earning employee in 2016-17 was given nearly $26,000. Another employee earned $18,000, while a few others were near $16,000. Most earned around $10,000 or less in overtime.

The Countryside Fire Protection District has two stations with 44 full-time and 35 part-time personnel. They cover the Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, two business parks, suburban subdivisions, and more rural or spacious residential properties in unincorporated areas and the villages of Long Grove and Hawthorn Woods. Countryside responds to an average of 4,100 calls per year. They spent $334,394 in overtime during calendar year 2017, $288,764 in 2016, $376,238 in 2015 and $309,586 in 2014. The district has an insurance policy that repays portions of overtime funds spent on injuries. Countryside’s top overtime earner in 2017 received nearly $23,000, while others were at $22,000, $17,000, $16,000, and the rest at or below $11,000.

The Grayslake Fire Protection District has three stations that cover Grayslake, Wildwood, Gages Lake, Third Lake, portions of the Round Lake communities, and Fremont Township. They responded to 3,996 calls in 2016 and have 41 full-time and 30 part-time personnel. Grayslake spent $275,747 in overtime during 2017, $324,533 in 2016, $235,496 in 2015, and $213,596 in 2014. The district did not respond to requests for individual employees’ overtime earnings.

Highland Park has three stations with 48 personnel. They responded to 5,146 calls in 2016 and they are contracted by the city of Highwood. They spent $281,743 in overtime during 2017, $220,426 in 2016, $267,022 in 2015, and $274,065 in 2014. Leading overtime earners included one person at approximately $17,000, two at around $15,000, two at $14,000, one at $13,000, one at $12,000, two at 10,000, and the rest at or below $6,000.

Gurnee’s fire department is responsible for an area of about 30,000 residents which includes Six Flags Great America and Gurnee Mills. They are under contract to cover other districts and municipalities. Its 6,220 calls in 2016 makes the response number much higher than Mundelein. However Gurnee only spent $126,922 in overtime during 2017, $129,054 in 2016, and $164,656 in 2015.

Mundelein’s finance committee is scheduled for fiscal year 2018-19 budget workshops on April 2 and April 9, in which fire department staffing will be among the topics. A vote to formally adopt a budget is scheduled for April 23.

thanks Dan

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Despite opposition from residents and current and former firefighters, Mundelein officials are reorganizing the fire department’s command staff and reducing the number of lieutenants overseeing each shift. The change was proposed because administrators believe the department is top heavy. The reorganization will save the village about $149,000 annually in salary and overtime cost reductions.

The village board voted 4-1 late Monday to make the changes. Robin Meier was the only trustee who opposed the move. Trustee Dawn Abernathy was absent. Meier said she opposed the move because officials have received a lot of what she called conflicting information from people on both sides of the issue. She also said she would have liked more information on the proposal.

The department now has six shift lieutenants, two per shift. Under the village’s plan, one of those lieutenants will be promoted to a vacant battalion chief post, and another will be put in charge of training, public education, and other administrative tasks.

That will leave four shift lieutenants, one of whom is expected to retire soon and won’t be replaced. At that point, the department will have three shift lieutenants — and that’s the village administration’s goal. The changes return the department to a command structure it had in 2008.

“After the restructuring, it will be two supervisors per shift to manage six firefighters,” Lobaito said. “We are confident that our fire department supervisors are fully capable of managing three firefighters.”

Village leaders also plan to hire three additional firefighters over time to bolster the staff.

The board’s vote followed hours of public and closed-door discussion about the proposal. Several audience members voiced opposition before the votes, including former Chief Tim Sashko, former Deputy Fire Marshal Mark Gaunky. Firefighter Brett Clark, the president of the firefighters’ union, called the change needless and dangerous. The union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the state labor department.

Sashko, who oversaw the department from 2007 to 2015 and now is president of the Lake County Board of Health, said he wouldn’t have allowed the change if he was still chief.

Mayor Steve Lentz said the notion that the change will decrease public safety is absolutely wrong.

Mundelein Public Safety Director Eric Guenther, who oversees fire department operations, supported the moves. But he also said he understands how they can cause an emotional response.

“I am confident that these adjustments will not negatively impact the service provided to the citizens of Mundelein and will further stabilize the department as it continues to grow and move forward,” Guenther said.

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Mundelein Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Mundelein village board went ahead with the sale of one of the department’s ladder trucks despite criticism from residents and even a former fire chief.

People packed Monday night’s village board meeting to oppose the ladder truck sale as well as plans to restructure the fire department’s command staff. Critics included former Fire Chief Tim Sashko, who lives in Mundelein and spoke at length about the potential hazards of the two proposals.

Sashko was especially upset about the plan to sell the ladder truck to a department in Kentucky for $360,000. Although it’s rarely used, Sashko said the truck is an important piece of equipment that contains much more potentially lifesaving gear than just a tall ladder.

Dumping the truck means Mundelein firefighters will have to rely on neighboring departments in Wauconda or Libertyville to send their ladder trucks to an emergency in Mundelein, Sashko said, and the extra travel time could cost lives.

As for the proposed plan to reduce the number of lieutenants in the department to four from six, Sashko said the department is understaffed and stressed the need for a strong command staff.

Brett Clark, a Mundelein firefighter who’s the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4786, called the proposed staffing change dangerous and ill-advised.

Village officials have said eliminating lieutenant positions will save the village money when it comes to salary and overtime costs.

Clark called the potential savings a joke.

“We do not feel safe,” said Clark, whose union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint over the issue.

In response, Mayor Steve Lentz blasted Clark’s position as a union leader. “When a union president starts talking about safety, take your hand, put it on your wallet and hold tight. Because that’s what they’re after,” Lentz said. Lentz later apologized for the comment.

The village board hadn’t yet voted on the command staff restructuring late Monday night.

thanks Scott

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