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Orland Fire Board OKs Hiring 11 New Firefighters

The Orland Fire Protection District is now one step away from adding a new roster of firefighters for the first time in five years.

In the last 15 months the has lost nine firefighters in different roles for a variety of reasons. Some have retired, others have been injured and others resigned under an array of circumstances, the most recent being .

The Orland Fire Board of Trustees approved in a 3-1 vote Tuesday night to add 11 more firefighter-paramedics to the district, upping the personnel numbers from 97 active firefighters to 108. The district’s Board of Commissioners has the final call and may convene in a special meeting before their next scheduled meeting in August to decide whether to move forward with the hires or not.

Orland Fire Chief Ken Brucki said the purpose is to keep 36 firefighters working each day, which will cut down on overtime and keep response times under 4 ½ minutes throughout the district’s area.

“This is my evaluation of our public safety needs and what we need to respond to an emergency with response time being the driver,” Brucki said, after Tuesday night’s meeting. “A lot of work was done for both studies, so they were looked at. Then it was done in real time. All of our data is off actual incidents the district responded to in the last two years.”

One of the studies Brucki referred to include staffing data presented by former chief Bryant Krizik at the April 26, 2011 meeting, .  The board unanimously approved the measure at the time, though trustees Pat Maher and Bob Cacciato were outgoing after the April 2011 election, .

Another staffing study was performed . Battalion Chief Raymond Kay, who served as acting chief for about a year after , requested in a tentative 2012 budget to .

Since then, there has been no mention of adding fire staff in a public motion until Tuesday night.

According to board president James Hickey, as many as four firefighters are called in to serve overtime each day, which could cost the district about $2 million in overtime by the end of 2012.

“If someone else gets hurt, that number goes from four to five, and that $2 million can jump to $2.1 million quick,” Hickey said. “This came to the point where we had to act.”

Hickey believes the 11 hires would cost $700,000-$800,000 less than the current overtime use.

Hickey said he hopes the hires would come from the list of 11 firefighters originally approved by the board in April 2011. At the time, Hickey voted in favor of the hires, but noted more time to decide would have been preferable. He then voted in favor of suspending the hires after Evoy and Rhode joined the board.

The district’s human resources staff will contact the 11 firefighters originally recommended to see if they are still available, Hickey said.

Trustee Martin McGill praised the approval for new hires, and trustee Glenn Michalek also voted in favor of adding personnel.

“We’ve had a busy month-and-a-half,” McGill said. “You have fatigue and everything else. I’m just glad it happened.”

Trustee Blair Rhode voted against the new hires, and said later he wasn’t convinced that the proposed number of added staff was necessary.

Trustee Chris Evoy did not attend the meeting.  

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Landmark Flooring July 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Alan, The District is cutting costs by hiring additional firefighters. The organization appears to be replacing firefighters that have departed from the organization. This in turn will save the District up to $800,000 of our tax dollars!! Lets face it....The Fire District covers alot of ground and handles over 8000 incidents a year. Lets try to wrap our arms around that...Orland provides one of the best Fire and EMS services in the state. As a taxpayer of the District I have no problem paying for additional firefighters. Its smart for the District and smart for the taxpayer.
Megan James July 25, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Hickey & the other board members should have to pay the Orland Township residents all the money back that was needed to pay for OT after they put all the 11 hire's offer agreements on hold last year! We all told them it was a stupid policitical ego power move over a year ago. That stupid ego-based decision did nothing but prove the outgoing board was right and just cost taxpayers more money! Again...at what point can we force Hickey to resign! Every decision he makes with his ego instead of this brain seems to just cost Orland Township taxpayers! Thank goodness they're going to attempt to hire the original 11 firefighters they offered jobs too originally.....course, I doubt any of them will trust the offer is good this time either. A lot of them were out of jobs after accepting the last offer and had to give up their old position. Not sure I would trust this board to keep its word this time either.
dexter July 26, 2012 at 03:45 AM
I have said this before. I am all for the guys on the past list getting these positions. They worked hard for it and they deserve the position, especialy after being told they had the job and then had the offer rescinded. My concern is that Orland Fire Protection District is opening themselves to a possible lawsuit from members on the current list. The past list has expired. I don't know what the legal ramifications would be.
Chris July 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM
well, i was one of the eleven. i went through all proper screenings, medical, psych, signed a letter of intent, was given a start date of may 31, 2011, then days before, the board put a hold on it. then i went to a few meetings and things never got resolved. no phone call for 14 months. then i recieved a phone call two days ago... sorry, but im happy where im at now. i know that atleast 5 wont take the job now too. a few might and the new list will be used. good luck olfpd.
Robert July 26, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Ditto, at the very least the people in a civil society deserve to get what they are paying for. Cheapasize some other departments that are not vital to our community.
Robert July 26, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Maybe the board members (Hickey, Chris Evoy, & Dr. Blair Rhode) can be personally sued like they are when they campaigned and falsely claimed they were backed by the firemen.
Robert July 26, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Orland's peopl's loss for sure. You were at the top of the list, cream of the crop. I am happy for you that you have a good spot now. That is what happens when a politician like Republican Liz Gorman, tries to sneak into a township through their emergency services district. She backed the two new board members Chris Evoy and Dr Blair Rhode, who in turn put James Hickey as president. They dominated the voting decisions and destroyed lives. This resident apologizes to you and your family.
Kevin Preston July 26, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Landmark flooring is owned and operated by Nick Cincapalmi. Sometimes operating during his shift. No wonder he likes the move. He is a yes man if it benefits him personally.
Mike July 28, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Those of you from outside the fire service don't know what really happened with the first 11 hires in 2011. The out going board and Krizik knew that the in coming board wanted to review all district operations before any big decisions where made. The incoming board even sent a letter to former board President Pat Maher requesting all big decisions be put on hold. Thay sent out letters to those 11 poss employees anyway knowing they were not going to be hired by the new board. That hiring was put on hold making it look like the new board did that on purpose while in reality Pat Maher and Krizik did that to get their "last shot" in. This is really what happened.
John Humphrey July 28, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Mike, the vote by the old board was 4-1 for the new hires. Maher voted no, Hickey voted yes
Mike July 28, 2012 at 01:30 PM
John you are correct. That vote was on purpose. Pat knew the rest of the board was going to go that way. Hickey voted the way the board wanted him back then. Hickey didn't know any better as he started to build his political career.
Good Luck August 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I really didnt want to jump on this destructive bandwagon, but there's something interesting I just came across that needs to come out. I am one of the 11 who were hired, then not hired and now offered a job with Orland, again. I am one of the ones who told my boss back in May 2011 that I was quitting without the courtesy of 2 weeks notice. I was one of the ones who had to ask to retract my resignation because my "new employer" changed their minds. I watched the drama unfold over the past 15 months from the sidelines, watching the new board sink one of the most respected ships in the fire service sea. I watched them bring shame and discrace, dirty politics and mockery to the fire district. I sat back and thanked a higher being that things ended up like they did. I guess everything happens for a reason. This morning, I was looking at my latest OFPD "offer of employment" sent by their new, politically appointed HR woman. It said at the bottom that I would have to redo my background check and retake my physical exam. (to be continued...ran out of room)
Good Luck August 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM
(continued from 1)...Funny thing about the location of the doctor I have to go see, is that it was not Dr. Moisen from Palos Hosptial. When Orland paid for my first extensive medical check in 2011, Dr. Moisen was the physician. He's a well respected doctor who specializes in firefighter fitness and respiratory wellness. He was telling me how great of a department Orland was, how he knew all of the guys and their families from tending to them for decades. In the NEW letter of employment, I noticed the location of the department physician had changed. I googled the address and who's the first name that pops up? DR. BLAIRE RHODE, also known as the political, errogant suck weasel TRUSTEE BLAIRE RHODE from The Orland Fire District. It just never ends. I quietly folded my new letter and tossed it in the trash. Seemed like an approporiate spot for it. God speed to the firefighters of the Orland Fire District. You'll outlive these lunatics. Stay strong.
Mike August 09, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Mr. Luck welcome to the fire service, however you must be corrected on a few of your comments. The ship sank when the former fire chief ran the dept. Made sure all his cronies scored well and got promoted (politics). The last HR woman was a political appointee. And never quit a job without giving 2 weeks notice..oh wait the former chief wants to hire 11 as he's leaving seems odd to me (politics). Welcome to suburban politics Kid.
Responsible Government ? August 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
This graph and article explains the modern day make-up of all fire departments. I know these articles will spur attacks of how many dangers they face in Orland,etc,etc. The facts state that almost all of the calls are wellness calls and the firemen tag along to show that they are needed as well when this is not the case. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/07/firefighters-dont-fight-fires.html
Responsible Government ? August 11, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Ever wonder what happened to the volunteer FD in US cities. This is how money and political favors change America. http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/Mcchesneyfire.html
Robert August 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Then James Hickey should step down, he doesn't deserve to stand as President. This is ridiculous, baby talk.
Robert August 13, 2012 at 05:09 PM
NO WAY??? This is a disgrace, criminal imo. So DR. BLAIR RHODE, has a financial interest in the OPFD. He also is quoted in the newspapers repeating his patients conversations that they had during treatment appointments. I am really disappointed to hear this.
Robert August 13, 2012 at 05:13 PM
http://www.lizgorman.com/press/2011/2011-138_new_day_fire_district.htm Here is the bigger problem, Liz Gorman pictured with Dr. Blair Rhode James Hickey and Christopher Evoy, wink wink.
Robert August 13, 2012 at 05:42 PM
http://www.ratemds.com/doctor-ratings/597275/Dr-Blair-Rhode-Orland+Park-IL.html 4/12/12 3 4 1 1 Blair is in this for the money. Hands out norco's like they are candy. His office almost crippled my brother-in-law. Thankfully he want to another Dr to get Blair's surgery fixed. My husband had him work on his knee. Now he has a staff infection and Blair does nothing but give him more norcos. My husband is in pain my for 3 weeks! Blair has no answers. I love telling my husband "I told you so" but not in this type of situation. BEWARE OF THIS DR OFFICE! Insurance: Workers Comp

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