Posts Tagged West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise

East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District news

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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 (more)

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Two area fire departments are taking a positive step forward in their pursuit of a functional consolidation.

At Monday’s meeting, West Dundee trustees approved an intergovernmental agreement allowing the village to share the services of its fire prevention officer, Rick Paul, with the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District. He will work three days a week in West Dundee and twice a week in East Dundee.

Per the agreement, he will remain an employee of West Dundee. The village will charge East Dundee $35 per hour to cover expenses such as insurance and vacation time. East Dundee will provide office space and a vehicle for the days Paul works in that village.

Paul served the Carpentersville Fire Department for more than 35 years will begin his new role Jan. 1.

The approval follows on the heels of an intergovernmental agreement reached in August which will have West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise taking the helm of both departments beginning Jan. 1.

“It is an effort to use our resources in the most cost-effective method while raising the bar for both departments,” he said. “West Dundee is offering the skills of an experienced fire inspector and East Dundee has some technological advances that would benefit West Dundee.”

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

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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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Fire departments consider sharing a fire chief

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Calling it a tremendous step toward the pursuit of functional consolidation, East and West Dundee fire departments will consider sharing a chief once the head of East Dundee’s department retires later this year. East Dundee Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf is set to retire in December.

At Monday’s village board meeting, West Dundee officials approved executing an intergovernmental agreement with the East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District for joint management services. The measure now has to be approved by members of the East Dundee Fire Protection District board.

The East Dundee Fire District board met twice, once in April and again in May to discuss options for replacing Schmitendorf upon his retirement, West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise said in a memo to the West Dundee Village Board. Members were very interested in signing an intergovernmental agreement with West Dundee to have Freise take the helm of both departments.

At Monday’s West Dundee Village Board meeting, Freise went more in-depth as to what that consolidation would look like. He said a main advantage would be the cost savings realized by sharing a chief. East Dundee has proposed a salary of $125,000, including benefits, which would be shared 50/50, he said.

Freise would oversee both departments, with East Dundee’s fire deputy chief being directly responsible for East Dundee personnel. The deputy chief would report directly to Freise. Freise, in turn would continue to report directly to West Dundee Village Manager Joseph Cavallaro as well as the East Dundee Fire District Board.

Freise said the main goal will be to bring both departments together to function as one department, and other cost savings would come from sharing vehicles, training, and programs.

He added the agreement is very low risk due to an opt out clause that can be incorporated stating either party can terminate the agreement with a written 90-day notice.

Last December, citing nearly impossible hurdles at the state level, the Carpentersville Fire Department, East Dundee Fire Protection District and West Dundee Fire Department opted not to seek a legal consolidation.


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West Dundee Fire Department history

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The original firehouse in West Dundee may be demolished this summer, but its long history will live on in the memories of Kevin Rynders  who retired in 2008 as fire chief in Hoffman Estates. His father was a volunteer firefighter, as was his grandfather.

He remembers his father leaving work to go on calls. In the 1960s, the paramedic program and 911 did not exist. The hearse from the local funeral home doubled as an ambulance.

Fires were called in to the local bakery, funeral home, and Rynders Service Station, which all had fire phones, because someone was always there to answer. Whoever took the call set off a siren that alerted firefighters to report to the station at 98 Oregon Avenue. Each town had its own sound and firefighters had to listen carefully to figure out if it was for them. At the station, they picked up the fire phone, a type of party-line, and details of what was happening were provided.

The single-station fire department, founded in 1891, became a launching pad for fire chiefs. Bartlett Fire Chief Mike Falese said eight Illinois fire chiefs, including him, trained there. [East Dundee Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf,  Lake Zurich Deputy Fire Chief John Kelly, West Dundee Fire Chief Randy Freise, Woodstock Fire Chief Ralph Webster, retired Mount Prospect Fire Chief Mike Figolah]

Larry McManaman, West Dundee’s fire chief from 1979 through 2004, attributes it to the training academy he launched years after having a near-fatal accident on a call and resolving that everyone would become certified firefighters. The academy opened after the village took over the fire department from the fire district, enabling McManaman to hire full-time firefighters and increase his part-time staff, many of whom worked for other fire departments on their days off.

Doug Hoyt, a battalion chief in Palatine, worked at Rynders Service Station while in high school and went on calls with Kevin Rynders. Frank Buhrmann retired in 2011 as West Dundee’s fire chief. Both of his brothers were volunteer on-call firefighters in East Dundee.

Chief Randy Freise spent 11 years in West Dundee and his deputy, Trevor Hermann, spent five years there.

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