Excerpts from the WoodstockIndependent.com:

Woodstock Fire/Rescue District Chief Ralph Webster has announced he will retire in October 31. 

“It is my intent to step down before the end of my contract,” Webster said. “This is all amicable. (The board) knows it’s time for a change. I feel like it’s time for some new leadership. Because of all the changes with the Lakewood contract, this seemed like a good time for me to go.”

Webster, 53, said it seemed fitting for him to retire in October, which marks his 25th anniversary with the district. He has presented a leadership transition plan to the WFRD Board of Commissioners, which has yet to be approved. 

He has agreed to stay on with the district, likely in a part-time capacity, for approximately six months, to help the new chief. He estimates the hiring process to tap a new chief will take approximately four months. 

Webster was named chief of the Woodstock Fire Rescue Squad in October 1991. In November 1993, the Woodstock Fire Rescue Squad consolidated with the Woodstock City Fire Department and Woodstock Rural Fire Protection District, forming the WFRD.  At that time, Webster was named chief administrator of the district. Eventually, the administrator portion of his job title was dropped and he became known simply as chief. 

The WFRD has been undergoing staffing and restructuring changes since losing its contract to provide emergency services for the village of Lakewood in November. Lakewood opted to contract with the Crystal Lake Fire Department instead, forcing the WFRD to cut back on the department’s work hours and staffing, particularly those who worked at the Haligus Road station in Lakewood. 

thanks Dan