Posts Tagged Jim Gaffney

Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District news

Excerpts from the

A month ago, the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District Board accepted Jim Gaffney’s resignation as president. Monday, the trustees reacted to yet another resignation from Gaffney – this time from the board.

Bob Handley, who was named president at the Oct. 26 meeting, told his colleagues that he received Gaffney’s resignation letter that day, although it was dated earlier. The resignation was effective immediately. The trustees – who met in a room named after Gaffney at Station No. 3 in St. Charles Township – formally declared a vacancy on the board. Gaffney was absent.

He was serving a six-year term to expire in 2019. The district’s attorney, Ken Shepro, said the board could appoint someone to the position, and that person would serve until the 2017 election.

Gaffney served as the face of the district as it ended its relationship with the city of St. Charles in 2011 and opened two fire stations despite residents’ protests. His departure marks the second notable resignation at the district. Greg Benson – who served as the district’s chief since 2011 – retired recently. Carl DeLeo now serves as fire chief of operations.

When Fox River and Countryside dedicated Station No. 3 last fall, fellow trustees said the training/community room was named Gaffney Hall in recognition of his leadership and vision.


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Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District news

Excerpts from

As the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District marches toward another try at a tax increase, James Gaffney has resigned as president of the district’s board of trustees.

Gaffney confirmed Friday he resigned as president of the fire district earlier this week. He is also a member of the St. Charles Unit District 303 school board, a role that’s eating up more and more of his time. Gaffney will remain on the board but play a lesser role in several big decisions the district will make in the next few months.

Fire district officials are picking through the remains of a failed tax hike request by referendum in April. The move would have increased the taxes paid to the fire district by the owner of a $100,000 home by $48 a year. But that increase would have been phased in over five years. Voters rejected the request by about a 3-to-1 margin.

As trustees prepare to take a second shot at a tax increase, the atmosphere surrounding the question is looking more dire. The finances for the district appear to be reaching a crisis stage. District trustees are set to discuss the possible future discontinuation of ambulance and emergency medical services.

Trustees will elect a new president and discuss the referendum and ambulance service at a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at fire state No. 3, 34W500 Carl Lee Road, near St. Charles.

thanks Dan

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Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District … tough decisions (more)

Excerpts from

The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District board approved a tentative budget of $2.7 million Monday for the 2016 fiscal year that reflects the district’s reduced financial situation.

Board president James Gaffney said officials had planned for an operating budget of $3.2 million to $3.3 million if an April referendum had passed. But the district’s request in April was voted down.

The reduction in spending reflects having 21 firefighter/paramedics instead of 24, officials said.

The spending plan will be published and on display for 30 days before the board takes a final vote to approve it at its next meeting on July 27 at Fire Station Three, 34W500 Carl Lee Road, St. Charles.

Fire district attorney Ken Shepro said the proposed budget will be available on the district’s website as well,

Gaffney said the district would pursue another request to go on the March 15 primary ballot.

Gaffney said the district wants to establish a Citizens Advisory Committee to help support and guide the new referendum effort. Those interested in serving on the committee should call the district office at 630-584-3473 and provide phone and email contact information, he said.

The district serves residents in Wayne, Campton Hills and St. Charles Township.

A previous post is HERE

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Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District … tough decisions

Excerpts from the Kane County Chronicle:

Officials at the the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District are bracing for critical budget issues caused by the failure of its April referendum, they said.

Board President Jim Gaffney said the district would ask voters for an increase again, this time on the March 15 primary ballot in 2016. Voters defeated the rate hike request by a 3-1 margin in April, records show.

“If it doesn’t pass next March, then we will not meet payroll at all by 2017-18,” Gaffney said.

The board will consider a tentative 2015-16 budget that reflects reduced spending and deferring equipment replacment at its next meeting, 7 p.m. Monday, June 22, at Fire Station Three, 34W500 Carl Lee Road, St. Charles.

Gaffney said the district could be dissolved, but it would have to be by voter initiative.

“Then the state fire marshal comes in and breaks us up, and re-appropriates us into different districts (Elburn, South Elgin, Bartlett and West Chicago),” Gaffney said.

The Fox River district, which formed four years ago, covers parts of St. Charles, Campton, and Wayne townships in Kane and DuPage counties, and sections of Wayne and Campton Hills.

The unaudited 2015 year-end totals show the fire district had $47,877, while the original 2016 budget projections, without cuts, would put the district nearly $500,000 in deficit.

The district cannot replace staff when they leave for better-paying jobs, and has to defer replacement of fire trucks and ambulances, Gaffney said.

A captain, a lieutenant and three firefighter/paramedics left for better paying jobs, Gaffney said. None will be replaced, saving the district $240,000, Gaffney said. But that is not enough to cover the replacement cost of fire trucks at $450,000 and ambulances at $250,000 each, he said.

The fire district’s attorney, Ken Shepro, said equipment replacement is critical.

Starting Wednesday, the district will operate with its remaining 21 personnel, re-arranged in shifts so all stations are covered, with no layoffs.

thanks Dan

Related posts are HERE and HERE.

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Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District hires fire chief

The Daily Herald has a series of recent articles which reference the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District.

The new Fox River Countryside Fire/Rescue District has a new chief to guide its evolution. It’s a task he’s already familiar with.

District officials Tuesday announced Greg Benson as the first fire chief of the district. Benson is already associated with the district as trustees hired him last month to be the technical adviser for the selection of fire equipment and seeking bids for manpower and emergency services with private companies. That process eventually led to the selection of Wheaton-based American Emergency Services as the new fire and ambulance provider. Under the deal, Benson will be an employee of AES, not the district.

The complete article can be found HERE.

The Daily Herald has an editorial about the emergence of the new fire department HERE entitled

Fire district heads down risky path

Leaders of the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District didn’t feel they could afford to pay the rate the City of St. Charles charges to provide the district with fire service, so they decided to go it alone. They treated this too much like a simple business decision, and the result could be disastrous.

Until now, the rural district — which serves Campton and Wayne townships and portions of Wayne and Campton Hills — has existed only on paper. It has had no equipment or personnel. Merely a board and a tax levy, with which it paid the City of St. Charles for fire service and Tri-City Ambulance for rescue.

… the district fire board wants to control its own destiny by building two stations, hiring a chief, buying trucks and ambulances and contracting with a company to provide both fire and ambulance service. At the outset, at least, the deal would cost the fire district slightly less than what St. Charles wanted.

Another recent article quotes Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay as saying that the fire district board members should be elected instead of appointed.

McConnaughay says fire board should be elected, not appointed

Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay suggested Wednesday that St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte should look in the mirror when trying to figure out how the city lost the fire and ambulance service contract for the Fox River Countryside Fire/Rescue District.

In the aftermath of fire district trustees voting to create a new fire department and drop the city, DeWitte said McConnaughay is responsible for the department’s success or failure. McConnaughay appoints four of the five trustees.

But on Wednesday McConnaughay said DeWitte is the guy responsible for district President Jim Gaffney’s appointment.

The Kane County Chronicle has an article HERE about the new chief.

Fox River and Countryside district names Wayne resident as chief

Benson has served as the district’s technical adviser since January. Previously, he worked for fire departments in St. Charles, Aurora, Batavia and Elgin, where he served as battalion chief, according to a news release.

Benson will be employed by the district’s service provider, American Emergency Services.

AES, along with input from district trustees and the Citizen Advisory Committee, selected Benson from more than 50 applicants and five finalists, AES President Gary Jensen said.

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