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Trustees Expected to Announce New Orland Fire Chief in May

The Orland Fire Protection District also discussed cutting services, such as dropping one ambulance or possibly closing Station 6, during Tuesday night's meeting.

The search for a new chief could conclude in May, after trustees narrow remaining candidates to five and schedule a final interview within the next two weeks, according to Board President Jim Hickey.

That pool of resumes, as many as 40 deep, included firefighters from in and out of the state, as well as men from Orland Park whom work for other districts, Hickey said following the district’s monthly board meeting on Tuesday.

However, the only resume to come in-house was Acting Fire Chief Raymond Kay, whose performance the board president described as “phenomenal.”

Former Chief Bryant Krizik parted ways with the district last year .

The one firefighter who garners at least three of the five trustees’ favor in May, after interviews, will get the job.

“I’m pretty confident we’ll have a good guy, you know, and not to say that it’s not Chief Kay,” Hickey said.

One candidate, he added, dropped out of the race when he discovered that he had applied to Orland—not Orlando.

Board President Looking to Citizens for Guidance on Cuts or Taxes

In other fire district news, the day could come when residents of the Orland Fire Protection District, , will be asked to choose between cutting services or raising taxes.

Hickey said trustees were reluctantly looking ahead at the possibility of dropping either a truck or an ambulance from service, or eliminating the Fire Prevention Department altogether to manage future expenses and avoid an undesirable referendum down the road.

“This year we cut millions of dollars out of the budget and we barely made it,” he said, adding that he wanted to hear suggestions from the residents.

Other options floated have been the closing of and outsourcing ambulance service, which Hickey adamantly said he opposed on account of "horror stories" from other towns. He would prefer that the village absorb the district’s Fire Prevention Department, which, he said, is supported by the district but whose ticket revenue benefits the village.

During the meeting, Joseph Gleiter of Orland Park told the board that talk of possible changes to ambulance service concern him and other seniors. It was a concern that went unanswered, but one of a few Hickey addressed with reporters after the meeting.

When asked why a referendum might be necessary if the district chose not to make cuts, Hickey fingered annual employee raises.

“Let's just say this year we have $400,000 left over," he said. "Well, if salaries go up by $600,000 that tells you, unless we cut something next year, we're going to be out of money.”

Orland Firefighters Union Local 2743 President Walter Rafacz was not immediately available for comment late Tuesday night.

Negotiations for a new firefighters’ contract were expected to begin as early as January but still haven't begun. Cuts could affect staffing levels and would likely play a role in those discussions.

On the same night, trustees passed an ordinance abating money back to taxpayers, though an exact number was not readily available from either Hickey or his public information specialist, Ray Hanania.

Trustees Chris Evoy and Martin McGill did not attend the meeting.

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paul cervenka April 11, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Orland Hills (Westhaven) is responsible for the fire districts creation. This solution grew from not having it's own resources back in 1968. Andrew Corp. was the source of funding for fire department back then. Today, Orland Hills would have their own station. Number 4 on 94th ave. NO, the mayor would NOT want a fire department! He brags on the low cost to homeowners for village taxes. This would be a budget killer. The fire dept would have to compete with all other village services for every dime. The mayor likes self taxing entities. Water, sewer, garbage, Library. Fire district. etc. Not on his table to worry about. NO mayor would want OP to have a fire dept. Our OPFPD is more than the cost of the entire village and township combined! Twice the national average cost! OP homeowners also subsidize all surrounding communities. We send teams to all fire/emergency calls in near by suburban towns. It's an agreement policy. When did you last see a Tinley Park or Oak Forest truck or ambulace answering a call in OP? Funding is a local issue to be determined by local residents. Orland Hills and Uninc. can make arragements as the need to. Just write the check. FYI, the OPFPD budget is going up about $1 million per year just in health and pension legacy costs. Unsustainable, and the reason for the referendum. I'd love to have a public forum about this. We need a long term fix/plan.
Responsible Government ? April 12, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Paul its a ticking timebomb http://www.pensiontsunami.com/
Just Saying May 10, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I find it quite entertaining how when Orland tried to steal land away from Mokena Fire they boasted about Station 6's resources and quick response times. I bet the residents of the nursing home on 183rd are glad they didn't buy into their lies and stayed with Mokena FD now!
medic35 July 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM
to mr tuck, you need t get ur facts straight, as for tinleys ambulance service, trace made 96% of their etas, and they only get 6 min to get to a location.and u get 2 trained educ,ated paramedics! The same training orland medics get. And as a metter of fact, trace runs more medical emergencies and real calls then fire dept. Also the residents of tinley can choose what hosp they want to go to unless they are real bad. Trace medcs are under paid, and unlike orland, when trace has all their rigs on calls, they bring in other rigs. So get ur facts straight before talking shit!
Rick VanderVeen July 18, 2012 at 01:29 AM
@Medic35 do you really want to talk about education! You can not even spell! Now let's talk about getting our facts strait. Did you contact Orland for their response times for a comparison? What is a "real call?". I wasnt aware that an ambulance call for trace was more of an emergency, than a call in Orland Park! Also, anyone can choose to sign a refusal and be transport to the hospital of their choice. Since your a Medic you would know that a true emergency will go to the closest hospital. Orland uses a thing a called mutual aid "MABAS" to have ambulances/fire rigs to cover them when they need assistance. A trace bill is about $1000.00 to go to the hospital ALS. Whatever you insurance doesn't pay, you have to pay. I'm sorry that you do not have your facts strait "medic35". If you need those run times call them. Call your banker and congressman up, they cause the recession not public servants.

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