Archive for June 19th, 2016

Park Ridge Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

What started as a discussion about upcoming eligibility tests for the Park Ridge Fire Department, evolved into a discussion on how salary compression at the highest levels in several departments could jeopardize retaining senior staff.

Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen said tests must be administered in July for firefighter, lieutenant, and battalion chief, because the old lists expire after two years. Should a vacancy occur, he would have to wait until there is a new list to fill the position. With three battalion chief positions, he needs at least three qualified candidates if promotions become necessary before 2018.

The union contract for personnel below that level was settled in the last year, allowing some increases in pay. Union members, up through lieutenant, qualify for overtime pay if they have to work longer hours. Battalion chiefs get no overtime.

The differential between lieutenants and battalion chiefs has been shrinking, a situation which Mike Suppan from Human Resources calls salary compression. He said that the situation of wage compression for non-union staff, and the resulting concerns on employee retention, has been a problem for seven or eight years.

Sorensen said more than half his lieutenants already have enough seniority to make close to battalion chief pay.

Retention, especially of employees with seniority and leadership experience in the department, needs to come with incentive for promotion. Two years ago there were only two who tested for battalion chief.

Sorenson appointed an executive officer (a civilian post) and promoted one lieutenant to training captain, while eliminating positions for deputy chief, senior administrative assistant, and a part-time emergency preparedness coordinator. Salaries for chief and the executive officer have dropped since the fiscal 2014 budget by $95,177.

Efforts to economize, to streamline operations, and to get grant money to cover expenses have helped the city’s bottom line, but have not been returned to the fire department budget.

Suppan said he had talked to both Sorensen and Police Chief Frank Kaminski about the situation. Kaminski estimates he has 11 or 12 non-union employees not covered by union contracts.

Aldermen asked whether they should try to address the fire situation immediately, or wait and address non-union salaries for all the departments at once. While they agreed this type of discussion should have happened in the 2014 or 2015 strategic planning sessions that never occurred, a consensus of the council concluded 4-3 in favor of not trying to solve the fire department situation that night.

thanks Dan

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Highwood Fire Department disbands

This is from Niko Stefani via

6/14/16 8:00 Hrs. Highwood FD disbanded after 126 years of service. Highland Park has absorbed their small fire district following a March 15 vote. The 30-year contract is reportedly projected to save $9.3M within the first decade. – Goodbye radio traffic from RED Center video by Niko Stefani

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Retired CFD vehicles for sale (more)

This from Dennis McGuire, Jr.

The first Pierce tower for Tower 34 is up for sale

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Annual Chicago Fire Engine Rally & Swap Meet (more)

This from Steve Redick:

Here’s some highlights. I was very interested to see the Palatine Snorkel, new to the show this year. Great weather and a fun time. Unfortunately the CFD Engine 10 Fox had a mechanical problem and had to be flatbedded home.

All the images and video can be seen here

Steve Redick

Chicago FD Ahrens Fox fire engine

Steve Redick photo

Peotone FD pumper tanker

Steve Redick photo

Palatine FD Snorkel

Steve Redick photo

Frankfort FD Snorkel

Steve Redick photo

Chicago FD Special Operations Compressor Unit 5-2-3

Steve Redick photo

vintage fire trucks at fire muster

Steve Redick photo

vintage American LaFrance Century pumper

Steve Redick photo


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