Posts Tagged Spring Grove Fire Protection District Chief Rich Tobiasz

Spring Grove FPD news (more)

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Spring Grove FPD news

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Spring Grove Fire Protection District Chief Rich Tobiasz has announced retirement plans, and a hunt for his replacement is underway.

He started his career in the fire service in 1974 and worked with the Fox Lake Fire Protection District for eight years before joining the Spring Grove district in 1982. He became chief in 1993 and has helped usher in a new era for the district. When he started, and until he took over as chief, the department was not staffed, and emergencies were handled on a volunteer, on-call basis. Firefighters were paid per call. Now the department staffs a five-person team 24/7.

Tobiasz said he plans to stay in the area for now. He will continue to teach agriculture at McHenry County College and is a member of the McHenry County Master Gardeners, which is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension.

The fire district’s board has reviewed applications for the chief position, which comes with an annual salary range of $75,000 to $105,000. Tobiasz makes about $89,000. The candidates will go through an assessment process, and a panel of outside fire chiefs will recommend a few of those people to go through the formal interview process with the board. The goal is to have a decision made by March, so Tobiasz can retire April 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. If all goes according to plan, the new chief would start May 1.

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Consolidation of fire districts in McHenry County

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The four fire protection districts in the North Quad are working toward a functional consolidation of their departments that would provide benefits in coverage and mutual equipment purchases and discussed initial forays, during a Nov. 18 meeting of the district’s chiefs and members from their respective boards of trustees.

Each district would maintain its distinct identity, and an exploratory committee is the next step.

“The operative word is functional and not meant as a total consolidation,” said Spring Grove Fire Protection District Chief Rich Tobiasz. “Our taxes, boards, companies, and equipment would still reflect four separate units … we can do more things together that would benefit us all together such as training, sharing staff, and purchasing equipment.

The North Quad is composed of McHenry County fire protection districts in Spring Grove, Richmond, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood, and Wonder Lake. The grouping has been together for more than a dozen years, and the new name would come under the heading of “North Fire Alliance.”

“Its basic purpose is that we’re all in the same boat, and the quad approach is such a benefit,” said Richmond Fire Protection District  Chief Rick Gallas. “When Richmond gets a call, the other three departments get the same call, they hear what we hear, and have a pre-planned operation mode for action, as needed. It’s four departments coming together as one, and the immediacy makes it effective.”

The concept had been discussed informally, for a number of months, and took shape  Nov. 18 at Spring Grove’s headquarters. Meetings between the four districts are held every other month with Tobiasz, Gallas, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood District Chief Thomas Linneman, and Skip Sorensen of the Wonder Lake District in attendance. Topics are varied and related to the service calls, ranging from dispatching to auto-aid.

Tobiasz noted, “Let’s say Wonder Lake needs 20 air-packs, Spring Grove needs 16, Richmond needs 18 … the price break on that amount by purchasing together would save funds. Other things like having an opening in one district, staff could cover from the other district, as needed.”

The current plan is for the chiefs and trustees to return to their respective boards, which will meet during November and December and getting a better reference point. 

The next meeting for the North Quad units is slated for January 2018.

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