Silver Lake Fire Department Assistant Chief Roger Pattie asked the Silver Lake Village Board to formally recognize Allison Draeger as SLFD chief.
Pattie made his request as part of extended remarks during citizens’ comments at Wednesday night’s Village Board meeting.
But a village official said the board won’t act on recognizing any chief until a legal dispute over the chief selection process is settled.
Pattie’s comments (video above) lasted over seven minutes and also included requests to purchase new tires for the department’s equipment truck and for four sets of turnout gear. Pattie also reported that the department has not lost any members since the sudden retirement of former Chief Andrew McFarlane in May, and recently added two new members who are well-qualified.
Regarding Draeger, who was elected chief by department members, Pattie said Village Board members treat her as chief in private, but have refused to confirm her as chief with a formal vote.
“She needs to be recognized as chief by this board,” Pattie said. “She was duly elected by the fire department. She meets or exceeds all of the qualifications set forth by the fire department standard operating procedures approved by this board.”
After the meeting, Trustee Roger Johnson, who is the chairman of the Emergency Services Committee, said the board will not consider a motion to recognize a chief of the department until a legal dispute between the firefighters association and the village over the chief appointment process is resolved.
Pattie started off his comments by criticizing the board for saying they want to cooperate, but then not following through.
“Your actions do not demonstrate any sort of willingness to address any of the problems facing the fire department,” Pattie said.
Fire department matters arose again during the typically routine committee reports at the end of the meeting. Johnson said he had nothing to report for Emergency Services. But Draeger, in the audience, took the opportunity to demand action on the equipment truck tires and the purchase of the new turnout gear.
Eventually, President Sue Gerber and Johnson pledged to discuss the matter again at fire department training on Monday, though a purchase approval would have to wait until the next board meeting.