Fire chief resigns
DUNDEE—One of the toughest volunteer jobs is that of a firefighter. Dundee’s large, active fire department is one of the strongest hearts in the community and that heart is troubled. Communication and change appear to be the two points that have led to difficulties between the Dundee fire department and the village board.
Dozens of members of the fire department attended the Dec. 9 meeting of the village board to express their concerns about some decisions that the board has made. Current chief Dan Petersen read from a prepared statement, commenting, “We’ve been going through some difficult times the last few months. Since this summer there has been an increased level of concern. The mayor has questioned some of our expenses, not only large items but everyday expenses.” Petersen said the situation led to chief Steve Warriner’s resignation.
He said, “The past chief was a loyal, knowledgeable fireman. He stepped down and I’m trying to go forward. Our goal is to resolve this frustration.” Warriner resigned as chief in November. He remains a member of the fire department. Department member Patti Miller said, “Over an eight dollar item, we lost a chief.”
Village board member Dana Gibson, who is one of two village fire commissioners, said, “I agree with you in the respect that there have been some differences. I would like to sit down with you, including the two fire commissioners, yourself and the first chief and get it resolved. I’d like to do it soon.” Fire department member David Bambey said, “That difference was the reason Steve resigned. I want to hear from the board and get things back to what it used to be. Morale is bad.” Gibson repeated, “I agree we need to get together and not let it boil.”
One of the problems mentioned was an e-mail from the village office regarding purchasing procedures. Mayor Craig Prior, who is a member of the fire department and the second fire commissioner, said, “The e-mail went to everybody so that everybody needs to know they need to follow the law.”
A meeting was held between the fire commissioners and fire department representatives late last week. Contacted following that meeting, Prior said, “There have been some internal problems. We are changing some of the ways things have been done for years.” Prior said change is affecting all village departments, noting, “The economy is tight. The government is cracking down.” One change would be in how money received from Starkey and Barrington through their fire contracts would be used and what the fire department should pay out of their own funds.
Petersen also spoke after the second meeting. He said, “Communication was lost for a while. It could have been smoother. I think a lot of the problem was communication the last few months. We discussed some things. The biggest thing was about the trailer for the 1928 Buffalo. We had a good talk with Craig and Dana. We can meet with Dana every so often in the future to head off problems.”
Some fire department members speaking off the record said they are concerned that the current problems between the department and the village board could lead to other resignations.