Thursday, March 1, 2012
A complaint filed with the state election board claims that Fiscal Voices for Orland did not file a payment or in-kind contribution record for a third robocall. FVO says that’s because someone else paid for the call, and it has nothing to do with them.
People agree that leading up to the April 2011 election, at least three robocalls went out endorsing Fiscal Voices for Orland candidates in the race for the Orland Fire Protection District Board of Trustees. They don’t agree on where one of those calls came from. In September 2011, Orland Firefighter Keith Radke filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections, claiming that a robocall endorsing current trustees Blair Rhode and Chris Evoy falsely stated that it was paid for by “Orland Firefighters.” The complaint also claims FVO did not disclose payment or contribution to cover that call’s costs. The Illinois State Board of Education recently agreed to move the complaint to a public hearing, after a motion filed to dismiss was …
Thursday, October 6, 2011
In the first round of the Orland Fire Protection District’s budget workshops for the upcoming year, staff cut about $1 million in proposed costs, but a trustee asks for more.
The first of three budget meetings with Orland Fire Protection District board trustees, who have pledged fiscal responsibility since April, began with scrutiny but ended with a hopeful outlook toward lessening costs. Trustees will go over each line item of the proposed 2012 budget with district staff at the meetings, though about 80 percent of the budget goes toward salaries and benefits, while another 5 to 10 percent involves state costs, according to board president James Hickey. The remaining costs will be examined in meetings Hickey said were the first he knows of where reporters were invited. “My whole plan for this budget is so we don’t have to lay off firefighters,” Hickey said. “And I want to give the biggest refund check back to …
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Who's the leak? Some trustees believe one of their own is sharing crucial info that compromises salary negotiations.
Several Orland Fire Protection District trustees say they’re penning a policy that would prohibit themselves, as individuals, from discussing closed session information with the public. They won’t say who, but they believe one of their own has been compromising labor negotiations by relaying details of closed-door discussions with firefighters on the other side of the table. “We have reason to believe that one of the trustees is leaking information to others—via the firefighters, the union—after closed session,” Board Secretary Blair Rhode said. For instance, he noted, a firefighter in the midst of a negotiation knew exactly how much the fire district was willing to concede on the next contract, even though the fire district had officially…
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
A rundown of events and decisions made since the April 5 election, when new trustees were elected to the district's board of trustees.
Is the sun rising or setting over the Orland Fire Protection District? Newcomers Christopher Evoy and Blair Rhode joined the board in April, pledging to closely examine the district's finances. Current trustee James Hickey was then elected board president and pledged to do the same. But in just under three months, the new district board has come under persistent scrutiny for its decisions. Trustees have disagreed on reducing staff and changing the makeup of the fire board of commissioners, who are involved in the hiring, discipline and training of firefighters. Hickey contends that he is taking the district in a new direction, a business direction, with an acute eye on finances and patronage. In a release, the district said it has so far …
Monday, June 13, 2011
by Kathy Quilty
Monday, June 13, 2011
I am shocked and appalled at the behavior of Orland Fire Protection District President Jim Hickey and Trustees Christopher Evoy and Blair Rhode in their personal attacks on Fire Commissioner Mary Beth Casper in attempt to bully her into resigning so they can appoint a political crony in her place. Mary Beth Casper has been a Registered Nurse for 27 years and as a Home Health Nurse, Mary Beth Casper knows firsthand the importance of first rate ambulance service in saving lives. Mary Beth Casper has been a tireless volunteer for our community. Mary Beth Casper was recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education with their highest award for her volunteer work in School District 146 in 2000. Also in 2000, Oprah Winfrey herself selected …
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Some actions by the Orland Fire Protection District Board are explained, while several others aren't, during Tuesday's meeting.
For the third meeting in a row, the Orland Fire Protection District Board of Trustees has put the hiring of 11 new firefighters on hold. This time around, board president James Hickey said the board was going to hire the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association (IFCA), headed by former Orland Fire Protection District Chief Robert Buhs, to investigate whether some, none or all of the potential new hires would save the district more money than they cost. IFCA will be paid $70 an hour. Their contract was approved 4-0 and will be “expedited as soon as possible,” Hickey said. “We definitely want a third party to tell us exactly the number of firemen that would be needed for the district," Hickey said." A lot of the information that we had previously … …
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Trustees new and old OK 30-day pay leave for chief and deputy chief without explanation.
Orland Fire Protection District trustees have suspended the hiring of 11 new firefighters for at least two weeks while they review the costs and potential savings associated with hiring any or all of them. “This does not mean that the 11 firefighters will not be hired,” District Board President James Hickey said. “All it states is that we want further reports to determine what is the advantages and disadvantages of hiring four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 and 11 firemen.” The process for hiring firefighters started before last week. Several of those men lined the back of the room and declined to speak about the meeting. Trustee Martin McGill noted that some of them have already “resigned from their present positions” and reminded …
Friday, March 11, 2011
As a follow-up to our initial and more-biographical questionnaire, we asked candidates to answer issue-specific questions about the positions for which they are campaigning.
The race for the Orland Fire Protection District Board of Trustees has four candidates vying for two open seats. Patch spoke with candidate Blair Rhode recently about how he believes the district is perceived and steps to rework the finances. Orland Park Patch: What are the biggest problems facing the district? How do you propose to solve them? Blair Rhode: When a Tinley trustee heard that I was going to run for Orland Fire Trustee he said, “Why would Blair want to muddy his name with that district? Everybody knows that it is the most corrupt district around.” That is a sad comment on a great group of fire fighters. I know many of the Orland Firefighters and they are quality people. I have had several occasions to need the services of …