Archive for April 9th, 2014

Des Plaines ambulance controversy (more)

The Chicago Tribune has an article which follow a previous post concerning a decision to cancel the purchase of an ambulance that had been approved in Des Plaines.

Weeks after Des Plaines leaders nixed a previously approved ambulance purchase, three aldermen want the Illinois attorney general’s office or an outside legal firm to examine the validity of that move.

The three aldermen — Patricia Haugeberg, Dick Sayad and Jim Brookman — have asked to talk about the topic at the upcoming City Council meeting, city documents show.

A resolution approving the ambulance purchase passed in a 5-3 vote at the March 3 City Council meeting. A resolution rescinding that decision passed at the March 17 meeting, with Mayor Matt Bogusz breaking a 4-4 tie.

That initial approval came following intense debate over whether the exhaust pipe should be located underneath the ambulance chassis — called a horizontal exhaust system — or above the ambulance in a vertical exhaust system.

Citing the frequency with which ambulances idle on the scene of service calls, Brookman — a former Des Plaines firefighter — successfully lobbied his colleagues to reject the horizontal system that he said exposes firefighters and patients to potentially dangerous exhaust fumes. The city’s own fire chief, however, disagreed with the need for the vertical exhaust system.

“Right now, our practices don’t put people in the way of fumes,” Chief Alan Wax said at the time of the purchase approval.

In introducing the rescission resolution at the March 17 meeting, Bogusz said the council had found “a solution in search for a problem.”

He said selecting an ambulance with a vertical exhaust system was unnecessary and the move was beyond the scope of the council.

“It’s not a policy decision. It’s an operation decision,” Bogusz told aldermen, according to video of the March 17 meeting posted on the city’s website. “This body needs to work to stick a little closer to policy.”

thanks Dan

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Possible layoffs coming to Matteson

The Southtown Star has an article  about discussions in Matteson that could result in layoffs for police offers and firefighters.

Matteson might be forced to lay off firefighters and police officers to address about a $9 million debt in the village’s main operating fund that has accumulated in recent years. Sales tax shortfalls continue to hit the village hard and have contributed to it running a budget deficit for several years, officials said Tuesday during a workshop session on the 2014-15 budget.

Trustees now have the task of slashing millions from the yearly operating budget, including possibly cutting 14 employees from the police and fire departments.

Matteson borrowed from other village funds to bolster its general fund for several years, which officials publicly acknowledged on Tuesday wasn’t the best accounting practice. The fund’s debt is expected to grow to more than $9 million by April 30, 2015, the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year.

For 2015, Matteson anticipates more than $17.2 million in revenue and a general fund that will run just shy of $16.4 million. However, officials believe that a balanced budget for next year won’t completely address paying back what’s owed to other funds.

The proposed budget is about $1.4 million less than the village’s current general fund budget, officials said. Most of the proposed reduction would come from cuts to emergency services personnel as well as the equivalent of 5.5 full-time and three part-time village employees.

Members of the village board’s finance committee on Tuesday examined overtime expenses in both fire and police departments, probing how payroll cuts could affect their services.

Matteson’s fire department is one short of a full staff, Fire Chief Edward Leeson said. Overtime expenses ran high this year due largely to having less than a full staff, he said, but the department expects to reduce overtime costs by 2015 from more than $300,000 to about $100,000.

The police department has 37 full-time officers, down from 41, Deputy Chief Michael Jones said.


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Historic Chicago audio from a 2-11 Alarm fire in 1981

This from Steve Redick:

This one is a real classic and there is a good story to go with it.
The fire was in January 1981, it was at the Pavilion Apartments, 5431 N East River Rd. I was on the job less than a year at the time and I lived in the building, 2 floors above the fire. I was still big into fire fanning back then and was riding Schaumburg Truck 1 that day. Around dinner time, one of the members asked me “say don’t you live in that big hi-rise joint on river rd? The city has a 2-11 going on, 5431 I think.” Now I have spent many days and nights in various firehouses over the years and I know how the “fan” is fair game for all kinds of jokes so I smiled and said ‘yeah right’… whereupon the member said “hey I’m not kidding, its a bad fire in your building”, and I said something to the effect of ‘ya think I was born yesterday??!!!!’ He said ok suit yourself and I thought nothing more about it.
We were all sitting around the table eating and watching the news … guess what I saw on TV … fire blowing out 2 floors below my unit and impinging on my balcony!!! Holy Crap!!!! I just about choked on my pork chop. The previously mentioned member said something to the effect of “I told ya so you stubborn german *&%*&$!!!!”  A lesson learned. When I returned home the next morning (you didn’t expect me to give up a night at the firehouse did ya?) my poor cat was shell shocked and my whole apartment was covered in soot. I saw some boot prints on my door from the search team too. The end result was a good cleanup and all was well.

A few comments about the voices you will hear on the tape. The fire alarm guy for most of the fire was Al Andersen. He and I came on the job together, and he has long since retired. You also hear the gravely voice of Dick Hyland, an old boss and senior operator at the time … now long deceased. You can also briefly hear Phil McMahon, assistant chief, also long deceased. The voice of future fire commissioner Louis Galante can be heard giving orders as 2112. Louis recently died as well.

This fire occurred under the regime of William Blair, the much disliked “transplant” from LA. He was involved in an accident enroute to the alarm as you will hear , and I don’t believe he and his driver ever made it to the alarm.

This was a real nice memory to find, but it makes me realize I’m getting toooo old for all this modern FD stuff now.


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