Posts Tagged Springfield Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs

Springfield Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from

On Tuesday, the Springfield City Council unanimously voted the mayor’s appointment of a new fire chief. Chief Allen Reyne was formally a captain so he jumped several positions. He has been with the department for over 18 years.

Reyne takes the position after former Chief Barry Helmerichs retired earlier in April. His son and wife were a part of his pinning ceremony. He said it was an honor to take the lead of a Class 1 fire station.

thanks Dan

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Springfield Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the State-Journal

Capt. Allen Reyne, a nearly 19-year veteran of the Springfield Fire Department, will be the city’s next fire chief. Reyne, 47, a captain since 2009, will replace Barry Helmerichs, who is retiring April 6.  Starting April 7, Reyne will be acting fire chief until the Springfield City Council can vote on his appointment April 17. His salary has not yet been decided.

Eight candidates within the fire department were interviewed for the position. Reyne, a Springfield resident, was the firefighters’ union president for two years starting in 2012 and has served as its secretary.

Reyne is certified to be a fire investigator at the state and international level, as well as a paramedic. He also holds certifications in hazardous waste operations, fire service management and fire service instruction. Before joining the Springfield Fire Department in 1999, he was a volunteer firefighter for the Godfrey Fire Protection District and a paramedic in St. Louis County and Springfield.

At Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the mayor honored Helmerichs with a proclamation and named that day Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs Day. He listed some of Helmerichs’ accomplishments, including raising the department’s Insurance Services Office rating from Class 3 to Class 1. Helmerichs also emphasized advanced medical training for firefighters and improved response times.

thanks Dan

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Springfield Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the state

With Springfield Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs retiring at the end of the month, the mayor is interviewing Springfield Fire Department members to find a replacement, because of a clause in the firefighters’ contract that stipulates the hire must be internal. The provision is unique to Springfield, though the practice of promoting an internal candidate for chief is not.

“All other persons assigned or appointed to positions in the Departmental structure as outlined in this Section of the Collective Bargaining Agreement shall be from within the classified fire service of the City of Springfield, Illinois,” states the contract, referring to the positions of fire chief, division chiefs and deputy division chiefs.

With the exception of six years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the hire-from-within clause has been in the Springfield union’s contract since it began to collectively bargain with the city.

In 1997, then-Mayor Karen Hasara pushed for the requirement to be dropped from the union’s contract. She had recently recruited a police chief from outside of Illinois. Plus, the fire department was split among political factions, and the union had delivered a no-confidence vote against then-Fire Chief Russ Steil. He retired shortly after, and Hasara wanted to conduct a national search to find a replacement that would restore order.

“The community felt strongly about being able to go out and get the very best person,” Hasara said in September 1997. “It very well may be that that person comes from within the Springfield Fire Department, but to limit ourselves to that would be a mistake.”

The union was initially resistant to the change in their contract. Seventeen months after their contract expired, a new one was ushered in, without the clause but with concessions the union backed. The new chief would be chosen with the help of a selection panel, which had representation from the union. The committee reduced a pool of 54 applicants to five finalists, three of which were local.

In the end, Hasara selected James “J.D.” Knox, a 28-year veteran of the Springfield Fire Department and acting fire chief at the time he was chosen. She didn’t look outside the department again, though she hired chiefs after Knox.

The chief selection clause was resurrected in 2003, according to Tom Roate, the secretary-treasurer of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois. Roate was the president of the Springfield firefighters’ union in 2003.

He said Hasara told him she wanted to appoint the acting fire chief Ron Hasara, her ex-husband’s cousin, as the permanent chief without going through the selection committee process or looking at other candidates. Roate said he pushed for the clause, partly because of its historic factor. Springfield had never hired a chief outside of its ranks since a memorandum of agreement between striking firefighters and the city was reached in 1976.

By choosing a chief from the department, everyone wins. The most significant factor, though, Roate said is the incoming chief will have familiarity with the department and Springfield politics and, therefore, can hit the ground running.

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Springfield Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from

The Springfield Fire Department is restructuring its leadership after five chiefs announced their retirement. The city said these retirements happened to keep young cadets from being laid off.

The proposed budget anticipated retirements so that they could employ new firefighters, but if the retirements didn’t happen, the cadets would most likely not be able to take an official place in the workforce. Now the restructuring includes finding a new chief, which the mayor will appoint, and be moving the positions upward, including the trainees into full-time firefighters.  There are nine cadets going through training.

Springfield’s Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs is retiring on April 6. He’s leaving along with four other chiefs. Chief Robert Marfell, Battalion Chief Raymond Gillespie, Battalion Chief Bill Carmean, and Chief Mark Hart. The retirements open over $500,000 in the department’s budget. It’s important to note, the chief said they aren’t leaving because of the budget. They say it was just their time to retire.

The city said, when it comes to the budget, they aren’t in the clear. There’s still a $2.5 million shortfall.

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Springfield Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

Springfield Fire Chief Barry Helmerichs will retire at the end of the month after almost three years as chief.  Of the five division chiefs, Bob Marfell, division chief of training, retired Monday and Mark Hart, division chief of operations, will retire March 16. Along with the division chiefs, Battalion Chief Edward Gillespie retired last week, and Battalion Chief Bill Carmean will retire Friday. The three other division chiefs, Chris Richmond, Jeph Bassett and Lyndal Neighbours will not retire this year.

When Helmerichs was appointed chief in 2015, he said he would regain the city’s Class 1 rating. At the time, the city had a Class 3 ISO rating. In 2017, Springfield achieved a Class 2 rating, and in January, it a Class 1 rating, without a significant change in funds.

He is equally proud of the push for advanced medical training for firefighters. Last year, the department increased the number of people who recovered from heart attacks by 600 percent. Additionally, the department’s turnout time has dropped by 16 percent over the last two years.

Helmerichs was born and raised in Springfield, and has been with the fire department for 26 years.

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