Posts Tagged Fire Chief Terry Vavra

La Grange Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

La Grange welcomed a new fire chief Monday as Terrence Vavra was sworn in to the position. Vavra, who replaces the retiring Donald Gay, was selected after the village employed the services of GovHR, who narrowed the search down to six individuals, who were then assessed and evaluated by village staff and at least one village board member.

His starting salary will $118,500 per year, and he will receive the same medical/health insurance and retirement benefits as other village employees. He has no contract, and is an “at will” employee who serves at the pleasure of the village, meaning his employment might be terminated at any time, providing the reasons aren’t discriminatory.

Vavra holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Western Illinois and a Masters Degree in Management and Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University. 

His most recent position was the fire chief of Norwood Park. He has also served in leadership positions with the Buffalo Grove and Lisle-Woodridge fire departments.

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New contract for Buffalo Grove firefighters

The Daily Herald has an article about a new contract for firefighters in Buffalo Grove.

After more than a year of working under an expired contract, Buffalo Grove firefighters have reached agreement with the village on a new four-year labor deal.

The village board Monday ratified the agreement with the Buffalo Grove Professional Firefighter/Paramedic Association Local 3177, for the period beginning May 1, 2013 and ending April 30, 2017.

The contract gives fire department employees represented by the union a 2 percent pay hike retroactive to May 2013 and another 2 percent raise retroactive to May 2014. The deal also allows either side to reopen the contract in March 2016 to renegotiate future salaries.

Fire Chief Terry Vavra said most of the changes in the new contract simply provide clarification of language in the old one. For example, the drug and alcohol policy was tightened to bring it more into line with the provisions for other village employees. The old policy had become “very cumbersome and very labor intensive,” he said.

The agreement also clarifies the rules for secondary employment — if, for instance, a firefighter works for another department. “Before they come to work, they have to be off any secondary employment for at least eight hours,” Vavra said.

The raises are consistent with those offered to other village employees, he said.

thanks Dan

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State legislation concerns local municipalities (more)

The Daily Herald has an article stating the Buffalo Grove joins with other municipalities in opposing HB 5485:

Buffalo Grove Village President Jeffrey Braiman has joined the chorus of municipal leaders opposing state legislation that could subject firefighter staffing levels to arbitration.  Braiman this week said House Bill 5485, otherwise known as the Minimum Manning Bill, would negatively impact the village budget and firefighter response times — and even might force the village to close one of its three fire stations.

Currently, the decision of staffing levels rests in the hands of department management. But under the bill, if a municipality or fire district and the union representing its firefighters cannot agree on staffing, the matter would be turned over to arbitration.

The arbitrator, Braiman said, “isn’t an investor in our community, who will not have the expertise in firefighting and finance to make logical and appropriate decisions.”

Braiman noted, however, that the proposed changes would not afford the village’s firefighters better wages and benefits, nor would it increase their pensions. It also would not improve response times, Braiman said. “Clearly, getting more persons into a vehicle will not get it there any faster,” he said.

The bill ultimately could force the village to add firefighters at a time when it is trying to manage its workforce and constrain costs, Braiman said. Requiring one more person per fire truck per shift would cost the village as much as $1.3 million a year, he said, forcing spending cuts elsewhere or a tax increase.

Fire Chief Terry Vavra said he also does not favor the bill.

“I think Mr. Braiman made some very valid points,” he said. “I don’t know that this is the answer.”

However, in a letter to legislators, the Mount Prospect firefighters union states that opponents of the bill “are attempting to mislead lawmakers and have stated opinions that simply are not true.” “The working conditions of a firefighter are inherently dangerous and safe staffing levels have an enormous impact on our safety, and ultimately the safety of the very citizens I have sworn to protect,” the letter adds.

thanks Dan

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Buffalo Grove FD hires new deputy chief

The Daily Herald has an article introducing Mike Baker as the new Deputy Chief in Buffalo Grove.

Buffalo Grove has hired a 35-year veteran of the fire service as its new deputy fire chief. Fire Chief Terry Vavra introduced William “Mike” Baker to the village board at this week’s meeting, where he and the board also said goodbye to three longtime firefighters.

Baker, who will make in the neighborhood of $120,000, joins the department Nov. 25. He worked for the Elgin Fire Department for 27 years, retiring as an assistant chief, before taking on interim deputy chief duties in Streamwood.

As an instructor for the Elgin Regional Fire Academy, which trains more than 80 different departments throughout Northern Illinois, he had plenty of contact with Buffalo Grove’s firefighters, ranking them within the top 10 percent seen at the academy.

“The reason that this job attracted me was because of the quality of personnel that came through that academy,” he said. “This community, this village and this fire department made a lasting impression on me.”

Baker was hired by the Elgin Fire Department as a firefighter/paramedic in 1985. In 2004, he was promoted to assistant chief. He developed the Saving Our Seniors Smoke Detector and Company Officer Succession training programs, was American Legion Firefighter of the Year in 1989 and won the EMS Leadership Award in 2006.

The retirees who were honored were Deputy Chief Doug Postma, Battalion Chief Joe Wieser and Lt. William Kent Brecht.

Vavra said that since July 2011, retirements have resulted in the loss of 479 years of experience. On Monday, he noted, the village was recognizing 87 years of experience.

thanks Dan & Ron

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