Thursday, May 24, 2012

Orland Fire Protection District announces selection of new chief

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           Ray Hanania
Thursday May 24, 2012                                         rayhanania  @

Orland Fire Protection District announces selection of new chief

Orland Fire Protection District – Veteran FireFighter Ken Brucki, 44, was named Thursday as the new Fire Chief for the Orland Fire Protection District.

Brucki served as a Fire Lieutenant with the Pleasantview Fire District representing homeowners in Burr Ridge, Countryside, Hodgkins, Indian Head Park, Willowbrook and portions of unincorporated Cook and DuPage County since 1994.

A resident of Orland Park for the past 12 years, Brucki said his first priority will be to bring the focus of the district back to fire protection and safety, conducting an efficiency study that will become a benchmark to evaluate ways to reinforce and improve fire services.

“I am very honored and appreciative to be given this opportunity to represent one of the best fire districts in the country,” Brucki said.

“I think the Orland Fire Protection District has so many dedicated firefighters and employees who I know want to focus their attentions, skills and professionalism on what they do best, providing the highest quality fire service and professional public safety for the people of the district. I am not here to focus on anything else. I recognize the great esteem that the district’s firefighters have for their uniforms and what their uniforms represent.”

Kay, who was one of three finalists for the position, welcomed Brucki as the district’s new chief.

At the request of the Board, it was an honor to serve as Acting Fire Chief this past year,” Kay said.  “I am proud of the many accomplishments the administration was able to achieve during this transitional period.  I intend to work closely with the new Chief to ensure a seamless transfer of authority, succession.”

OFPD President Jim Hickey described Brucki as someone who has a deep commitment to professionalism.

“We received applications for several dozen very qualified individuals. Chief Kay was among those qualified candidates and it was not an easy choice,” Hickey said.

“We narrowed the field down to the top three candidates and in the end, the board felt that Ken Brucki has the experience, the skills and the leadership to help us move forward with the mandate that the public expects from us. That mandate is to provide the highest quality fire protection services and safety, and to do so with sensitivity for the challenges of today’s economy.”

Brucki and his wife, Patti, a high school teacher, have three children. Jesselyn, 19, who will start her sophomore year at St. Francis University in Joliet; CJ, 17, who will start his senior year at Sandburg High school; and, Patrick, 13, who will be in 8th grade at Orland Junior High school.

Brucki began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Merrionette Park in 1988. Later, he worked as a part-time firefighter in Darien-Woodridge before taking a fulltime position at Pleasantview. The OFPD board voted unanimously at its last board meeting May 22 to offer Brucki the job following the year long search for a permanent chief.

Brucki is a volunteer youth sports coach who has worked over the years with hundreds of young people in football and baseball leagues in Orland Park.

“I think the public will find Brucki to be a straight shooter, a no BS kind of person who will make fire service his number one priority,” Hickey said.

Brucki said, “I expect every member of the Orland Fire Protection District to set aside their personal interests and work together as a team to put the needs of the residents of our fire district at the forefront.”

The search for a permanent fire chief began last year in May when Kay, a 22 year fire veteran, was named acting chief to succeed Bryant Krizik.

“Chief Kay worked with the Board of Trustees, and with many other agencies including local school districts, police departments, villages, Cook County government, the State of Illinois and nationally with organizations such as the International Association of Fire Chiefs,” said Trustee Chris Evoy. 

“Chief Kay’s experience in the Orland Fire Protection District made him the most qualified individual in the district to assume the position of acting chief. He worked in every firehouse and in various roles has been responsible for every division and operations in the district,” said Hickey.

“We appreciate the time he dedicated to this position to maintain the highest quality service of the Fire District.”


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Registration Opens for Orland Fire District Fire and Life Safety Camp

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MAY 23, 2012

Registration Opens for Orland Fire District Fire and Life Safety Camp

                Beginning June 1st, registration for the 4th Annual Kid’s Fire and Life Safety Camp will open.  This year the camp will be held July 9th – 13th for children ages 7 – 12.  Camp activities include: Combat challenge, CPR/First Aid, weather preparedness, fire prevention, Fire Safety Trailer, using fire hose, watching live fire and EMS scenarios, water day and many other activities.  Short periods of lectures and lessons followed by hands on exercises will help reinforce lessons learned. The Fire and Life Safety Camp is intended to be a learning experience for the children but also a fun and challenging way to learn about safety. 
                Attendees will be grouped into teams and will operate as a “fire or rescue company” for each day’s activities. Children are taught teamwork and leadership skills throughout the camp which they can use in everyday situations.
                Last year we had approximately 60 children in attendance and held 2 camps. This year there will only be one camp from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., free for Residents, $30 for Non-Residents.  Registration deadline is June 29th, but once the camp is full, registration will be closed sooner.  All campers will receive a T-shirt, educational materials to supplement the learning sessions, graduation certificate, water and a snack each day.
                Applications will be available online at our website at starting June 1st, or at the Administration Building. The completed application can be dropped off to Nancy Mulvihill at the Orland Fire District Administration Building at 9790 W. 151st St., e-mailed to, or faxed to 708-349-2751. Non-residents must bring in the application with payment, only cash or check will be accepted, no credit cards.  Any questions about the Kid’s Fire and Life Safety Camp, please contact Nancy Mulvihill, Fire and Life Safety Educator at 708-873-2742 or via e-mail at
Kid’s Fire & Life Safety Camp – Ages 8 – 12
Orland Fire District CTC Building
10728 W. 163rd Pl.
Monday July 9 through Friday July 13, 2012
·        Limited space available; registration will close when camp is full.
·        Free for in-district residents $30 for non-district residents (proof of residency required)
·        Each child will receive an Orland Fire camp T-shirt
·        Certificate of Completion for each participant
·        Hands on Learning & Team Building Activities Covering a Wide Variety of Topics such as:

*                        Basic First Aid & CPR
*                        Firefighter Skills
*                        Water Safety
*                        Severe Weather    
*                        Preparedness
*                        Fire Prevention
*                        Personal Safety & Injury      
*                        Prevention
*                        Safety Around Utilities

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


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The Orland Fire Protection District (OFPD) Board of Trustees created the OFPD Task Force (Task Force) to evaluate the consolidation of OFPD and the Palos Fire Protection District (PFPD). Five members were appointed to the Task Force. Realizing that it was not possible to conduct a full consolidation study within a few months’ time, the Task Force’s purpose was to focus rather on the feasibility of conducting the full consolidation study over a several-year period and with the cooperation of all impacted parties.

The Task Force leveraged existing documents, studies and state legislation on consolidation as the starting point of their work. Each member contributed to research and discussion throughout the process. Eight benchmarks were chosen as the metric to determine full consolidation feasibility.

Critical benchmarks that the Task Force considered were: Tax Levy, Level of Service, Labor Agreements, Dispatch, Apparatus and Maintenance, Administration, Support Services and Facilities and Buildings. Each of these areas was evaluated with available information establishing the feasibility of recommending further, more in-depth study. Only significant impediments would be considered not feasible. The report provides detail on each of the benchmarks and important aspects related to the benchmark.

In summary, the Task Force provides recommendations on consolidation of the two fire districts. Consolidation can provide a more efficient delivery of service through a larger organization. Several steps are important to follow to properly make an appropriate determination on consolidation. Existing Illinois state law provides a framework upon which consolidation can take place.

According to Interim Chief Raymond Kay, “The challenge for elected officials in fire districts is to be fiscally responsible in reducing costs while maintaining the current level of service.  Maintaining or improving response times for medical and fire emergencies are a key component in considering consolidation.  Although many short-term savings may not occur at the onset, long-term benefits may be realized for each entity that participates in the consolidation plan.”

The full report will be placed online as soon as it is converted to PDF format for public review.

Orland Fire Protection District Releases projected cost savings for 2012 budget

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Orland Fire Protection District Releases projected cost savings for 2012 budget


Orland Fire Protection District

Budget Cuts & Changes Resulting in Savings For Taxpayers

This is the first time in 5 years that the Orland Fire Protection Budget has been below $30 million. Had we not acted, instead of being lower, it would have been as much as $1 million higher this year under the past spending pattern of the prior OFPD leadership.

Some Major Cuts:

Change in # of employees needed during shifts      $500,000
[Note: Not hiring the 11 new firefighters, we were still able to bring the costs of overtime down by as much as $500,000 a year without the additional hiring. We did reduce the number of total individuals on a shift from 30 to 28 which resulted in the $500,000 savings which is noted in the first item.]

Change in workman’s comp carrier                      $500,000
Change in health insurance costs                          $200,000
Elimination of a Deputy Chief                              $150,000
Change in admin staff                                         $  32,000
Retired debt early                                               $232,000
($90,000 total interest savings)
Public Education reduction                                  $  68,000
IT restructure                                                    $  14,000

ACTUAL CUTS:                                            $1,696,000

Reduction in Battalion Chiefs                               $400,000

TOTAL IDENTIFIED SAVINGS                    $2,096,000

Had no effort been made to address budget spending and the budget spending had continued at the pace it was on before the new leadership took control of the board, the 2012 budget would easily have increased over the 2011 by between $500,000 and $1 million.

That means that in addition to the above cuts in which savings can be seen comparing this year to the past year, we also prevented spending that would have taken place, also, that would have increased last year’s budget even higher.

We reduced the budget between $500,000 and $1 million simply by changing our priorities and through cost efficiency awareness. Added to that savings are the reductions listed above which total $1.696 million. 

The actual overall savings in terms of what the budget would have been without any action equates to an actual reduction in spending that is $2.196 million to $2.696 million. That compares this year’s budget as it now stands with what this year’s budget would have been had we not taken any action at all and had spending continued its upward drift as it surely would have.

Included in this is the restructuring of the OFPD Battalion Chief duties, and the elimination of two of the six Battalion Chiefs, which saved the district  about $400,000 in salaries including benefits.

And we did this with our hands tied, since the majority of the budget spending involves employee contracted wages that are subject to negotiations with the union, giving us the ability to make actual cutbacks on that portion of the remaining budget that is non-wage related, or about 15 percent of the budget.

Jim Hickey
OFPD President


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Orland Fire District receives high marks in transparency audit by IPI

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Orland Fire District receives high marks
in transparency audit by IPI

Six neighboring government agencies fail transparency test

CHICAGO (May 18, 2012) – The village of Tinley Park, Orland Township, Orland School District 135 and the Orland Fire Protection District all received high marks in an online transparency audit conducted by the Illinois Policy Institute. These Orland Township-area governments join the Village of Orland Park, who maintained a score of 100 percent from August 2011.

The Illinois Policy Institute grades on how much public data is readily available on public websites. Dubbed “The Local Transparency Project,” grades are based on the availability to the public of vital community information, such as public meeting schedules, government employee salaries and tax rates. Since the project was launched by the Institute in February 2010, more than 140 government entities have been graded.

In the Orland Township-area, websites for 14 government entities were graded. Township of Orland, Homer Glen, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Orland School District 135, School District 146, School District 230 and Orland Fire Protection District all received passing grades.

Orland Hills, Kirby School District 140, Community College District 524, Mokena Park District, Tinley Park Park District and Mokena Fire Protection District all received failing grades.

The Village of Orland Park first received the top score of 100 percent in August 2011. The village maintained this score in the most recent audit.

“After Orland Park received a score of 100 percent last year, we are very pleased at how seven other governments in the Orland Township area have shown big improvements,” said Brian Costin, director of government reform at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute. "However, we are very disappointed the other six agencies who had extremely low scores and who haven’t yet embraced online transparency. This needs to change if those taxing bodies truly want to be accountable to their taxpayers.”

The bottom six agencies had an average score of 22.5 percent and all received an “F” grade. In comparison, the top 8 agencies had an average score of 88.5 percent.

For democracy to work, citizens need access to the information about what government does. Proactive transparency is the best way to educate society about the actions of government and keep voters informed. That’s why the Local Transparency Project grades public agencies on the availability of the following information: elected and administrative officials; public meetings; how to file a Freedom of Information Act request; budgets; audits; expenditures; salaries and benefits; contracts, lobbying; and taxing levels.

Jim Hickey, president of the Orland Fire Protection District said the Institute’s 10-Point Transparency Checklist offered local leaders a useful checklist to follow for online transparency.

“I am gratified for the support we have received from the Illinois Policy Institute. We now have many documents that previously were not easily available to the public now accessible for anyone to inspect on our web site," Hickey said. "I want to reach 100 percent.  and moving forward, we will as we continue to convert older records from the past. We hope our efforts serve to motivate other governments in the Orland Park region to follow our lead and make their own governments transparent, too.”

A full list of scores are attached and below: 

Click to view larger image

The Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to making Illinois a beacon for liberty and prosperity for all citizens. As a leading voice for economic liberty and government accountability, the Institute engages policy makers, opinion leaders and citizens on the state and local level by promoting free market principles and liberty-based public policy initiatives for a better Illinois. To learn more about the Institute or review policy briefs, please visit: