Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Evanston firefighters have raised concerns about an interim arrangement placing the department under the city’s police chief rather than naming someone from the department until a full-time fire chief is selected.

With the retirement of Fire Chief Greg Klaiber effective Sept. 14, the city manager announced that the city would conduct its own nationwide recruitment process for the position.

In the meantime, Police Chief Richard Eddington was asked to supervise on an interim basis the fire department’s deputy and division chiefs, he wrote in a memo that went to all city staff.

“Operation of the Fire Department will continue as usual under this arrangement until the new fire chief begins work,” he wrote.

The move is a departure from past interim situations, union members said, where fire or police personnel ran their departments during the search for a permanent chief. Representatives of Local 742 recently met with the city manager to state such concerns, said Matt Smith, president of Evanston Firefighters Local 742.

Firefighters had expected Deputy Chief Brian Scott on an interim basis to run the department that is comprised of more than 100 firefighters.

Klaiber had elevated Scott to deputy chief of operations and fire prevention in September of last year. He singled out Scott for high praise in his retirement speech at the Sept. 16 city council meeting.

Smith said firefighters believe Scott working with Klaiber over the past few years had contributed to building a fantastic department. He also singled out the department’s community outreach programs (including a first-time citizens fire academy), and excellent labor-management relations.

Not bringing him into the spot and placing the police chief in charge “has left us a little bit uncertain and a little bit anxious what’s going to happen over the short-term,” Smith said.


thanks Dan

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