Friday, July 1, 2011

OFPD Board trims nearly $500,000 in spending during first 60 days

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Ray Hanania
June 30, 2011                                                                                           

OFPD Board trims nearly $500,000 in spending during first 60 days

Orland Park -- The Orland Fire Protection Board cut $486,000 in district spending during its first 60 days in office, moving to realize promises made by the new board that the quality of fire district services will remain high but costs will be trimmed where possible.

OFPD Board President Jim Hickey said that the cost-cutting moves are mandated by the taxpayers and voters and that the cuts will not impact the quality of Fire District services that residents have come to expect.

Hickey said he expects that number to easily double in the next few months and to continue to climb as opportunities to save taxpayer dollars are identified.

"What we are doing is carefully managing spending and cutting where we can without impacting firefighting or emergency medical services," Hickey said.

"Even where we have spent extra money to hire a lobbyist in Springfield to insure that our funding interests are protected and to identify potential grants and monetary sources, we have off-set those costs with other cuts."

Hickey said that the OFPD will continue to update its cost savings using the web site at and the district's new blog at

"We are also using the website and internet to provide public access to board meetings and also to post important documents such as recent contracts, public policy statements and soon a complete and detailed copy of the district budget.

Hickey released the following data on savings by cost and date which is posted on the OFPD Blog Web Site:

- June 28, 2011: OFPD Board votes to retire two bond issues, one set to expire in 2016. Retiring the bonds early will save taxpayers $110,000 in interest payments on the bonds. Expected to be implemented at next board meeting.
Potential Savings: $110,000
- Not filling the vacant position of Battalion Chief.
Savings $215,000
- Reducing board meetings to one per month.
Savings $60,000
- June 2011: Change in the wages of the Human Resources Director from $73,000 to $68,000. 
Savings $5,000.
- June 2011: Elimination of the Public Education director, salaried at $47,000. 
Savings $47,000.
- June 2011: Reduction in the salary of the Executive Secretary to the board, salaried at $65,000 reduced to $37,000.
Savings of $28,000.
-June 2011: Reduction in the consulting fee for communications, previously $48,000 reduced to $36,000 for Urban Strategies Group. 
Savings of $12,000.
-June 2011: Hiring lobbyist Cheryl Axley to monitor OFPD Interests and grant opportunities in Springfield.
Cost $60,000
- May 25, 2011: hiring Del Galdo Law Group.
Savings $48,000
- May 25, 2011: Two trustees (Blair Rhode, Chris Evoy) declining their trustee salaries.
Savings $6,000
- May 25, 2011: Hiring Cindy Katsenes ($25,000) replacing Tom Dubelbeis ($40,000).
Savings $15,000
"Some people may think $486,000 is not enough but I think that if we can do this in 60 days, tighter controls on spending and better management of the district will realize more savings to the taxpayers and still result in a high quality services from our fire protection district," Hickey said.