Posts Tagged two fire departments to share one chief

East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the

On Friday, the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District Board voted to give 90 days notice of its intent to opt out of the agreement approved in 2016 which had West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise taking the helm of both departments.

At the time, both East and West Dundee officials heralded the intergovernmental agreement as taking another great step toward a functional consolidation.

Freise began overseeing both entities Jan. 1, 2017. The agreement called for the cost of the chief position to be shared equally by each village, including salary and benefits. In terms of hierarchy, the East Dundee Fire Protection District’s deputy chief began reporting to Freise, and Freise reported to both the West Dundee village manager and the East Dundee Fire District Board. Freise recently announced his intent to retire in August of 2019.

After approving Freise’s leadership over both departments, East and West Dundee also agreed to share the services of its fire prevention officer. Other cost-saving opportunities as a result of the joint management have included shared training, programs, vehicles and apparatus.

Mark Guth, president of the East Dundee Fire Protection District, said Friday’s decision came down to terminating the agreement or terminating one of the department’s full-time personnel.

“It costs us $80,000 a year for the shared chief. It’s running us into a $100,000 deficit,” Guth said. “It’s mandated that we operate on a balanced budget.”

“We don’t have the money,” added Trustee John Bonkoski. “Randy’s done a great job. We know it’s going to be a step in the wrong direction, but we have to look at our taxpayers. We can’t afford it. That’s the bottom line.”

“My concern for the district and the department is that this is going to be a big step backward,” Freise said. “I think we’ve accomplished a lot these last two years. A lot of things aren’t seen behind the scenes that we’ve accomplished. Fire prevention has improved by leaps and bounds. Every agreement we’ve made has been a success. We’ve been building on small victories and working toward a functional consolidation. All these years we’ve tried to improve service by working together I feel today has taken a big step backward.”

The concept would continue through an intergovernmental relationship expanded to include the Rutland-Dundee Fire Protection District as well as the Village of West Dundee to share and coordinate the overall administration, management and clerical support for all employees responsible for fire services under one management team.

Rutland-Dundee Chief Richard Thomas said in a letter to the West Dundee village manager dated Sept. 25 that Rutland fire trustees recently discussed at great length the concept of joint fire management services.

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West Dundee Fire Department & East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from

West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise is preparing to take on the added responsibility of overseeing day-to-day operations, training, personnel and other administrative duties for the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District. The move comes at a convenient time for the East Dundee Fire District, as Chief Steve Schmitendorf plans to retire at the end of the year.

On Monday, the West Dundee village board unanimously approved a final agreement for joint management services, which will go into effect Jan. 1. The East Dundee Fire District board has also approved the concept.

“The main goal is to bring both departments together functioning as one department,” Freise said in a memo. “If successful, this could lay the groundwork for future cooperative efforts.”

Under the new agreement, the two entities will evenly split the cost of the shared chief position, which is set at $151,796.62 for 2017. That cost includes Freise’s $113,000 salary, he said, as well as benefits and other personnel expenses.

According to West Dundee documents, this is expected to result in cost savings of roughly $75,000.

Either department can opt out of the agreement at any time by providing 90 days notice to the other entity.

As a result of having one leader, Freise said, the two fire departments will likely share other resources, including vehicles and apparatus. He also anticipates combined training efforts, more cooperation between staffs, and in turn, better and more efficient responses to emergencies.

thanks Dan

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