Silver Lake Village Board sets firefighter pay

silver-lake-fd-doorThe Silver Lake Village Board Wednesday night took the anticipated step of going from a points system of pay for firefighters to an hourly wage.

The change has been anticipated since late last year.

Firefighters will be paid $8, $9 or $10 per hour depending on their level of certification, said fire Chief Andrew McFarlane. Forty hours per week has been budgeted along with 18 hours of paid on call time.

The board revised a village ordinance in order to execute the change. It passed unanimously with Trustee Michael Decker absent.

The fire department was also the subject of several questions from resident Colleen Dykstra during the meeting.

Dykstra started out her questions with asking why typical policy for hiring village employees was not followed for the fire department. She contended the positions were not publically posted or advertised, for example.

Village President Jeff Albrecht explained that the fire department has its own hiring policy, which was followed when hiring hourly firefighters from within the department. All new hourly firefighters were hired from the pool of fire department members, McFarlane said.

McFarlane said new members of the department file an application, submit a resume, submit a background check (which is then checked by the police department) and are drug tested. They also are interviewed by seven officers.

Dykstra asked if taking fire department vehicles home was allowed. McFarlane answered no but when Dykstra brought up a specific recent instance, McFarlane said he did approve a firefighter taking a department vehicle home in that case. After some discussion, Albrecht said he felt the incident should be looked into further.

Dykstra also asked about the duties of firefighters manning the station. McFarlane said that besides answering calls, firefighters manning the station have about 6.5 hours of work to do checking and cleaning equipment.

“This is ensuring that your truck, your tax dollars, will get out the door,” McFarlane said referring to the regular running of the trucks, pumps etc. that firefighters manning the station are now doing. “I don’t know how many times I would sit in a Village Board meeting and hear that the trucks are shiny and you’d go out there and they re filthy. We’re hoping by doing this that our maintenance budget will be cut in half.”



  1. autorotate50 says:

    How about a raise for the police officers?

  2. Good bye Po-Po says:

    @autorotate50 – If you’re a cop in Silver Lake, you better be good at your auto rotate technique, because when this is all said and done they will be trying to shoot your PD helicopter out of the air! First they attacked the public works and spent over $17,000 on legal fees (open records request) to get rid of one person (that is still working), then they went after the private rescue squad and failed at that, now they will have their sites on the police department! There is no future for this village! Just about everyone one at the PD has applications out or is just going to quit, and in fact many of the officers have already left. (Bird, Redhead, Bush, and many others) They are going to need that money from the PD to pay the FD guys for sitting around all day and maybe going on 3 to 4 fire calls a year! Look it up, the numbers have been published, and if weren’t for Silver Lake Rescue allowing them to PAD the numbers, the FD would have nothing to report except for clean and shiny engines… (Trust me; they are not clean and shiny) When the PD is gone and Brown is in town, (KSD) the crime rate will climb through the roof. I don’t have much hope for the new board that is coming in April, because in the past those same people had a target on the PD’s back before. The Village of Silver Lake has two great services, but the people in charge are so stupid they can’t see that. However, there might be some hope. I was approached recently about joining a NEW completely volunteer fire department. It seems that some people are tired of the leadership at the current fire department and are looking to start new with individuals that aren’t looking just for pay check and are willing to donate their time without compensation.

  3. Trucks are shiny? says:

    I have a real problem with what Chief McFarlane said in the last paragraph. He has been on the department for over 15 years, and has moved up the ranks from firefighter, to Lieutenant, Captain, Asst. Chief and then to Chief. I would like to ask him what he was doing all those years. Why as a firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain or Asst. Chief he wasn’t making sure that the trucks were clean and properly taken care of? Why only when he gets paid can the trucks be clean and properly maintained? Don’t these guys on fire department have ANY pride in the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth the equipment they have? I’ve seen Randall’s, Wheatland’s, and Twin Lakes fire trucks and those VOLUNTEERS always make sure the trucks are clean and well maintained.

    I for one would be more than happy to join a new fire department. If what is stated in the above comment is true, I have about 5 other firefighters that would be willing to join a new Silver Lake VOLUNTEER fire department. It’s about time the old, non-functioning fire department is swept away and replaced.

    One more thing, I’ve noticed rescue is running pretty smoothly now that all that dead wood has quit and moved over to fire. Unfortunately, now ALL the taxpayers in the village will have to deal with it. Oh and by the way, how are things going to get done when members who are PAID, are going to be allowed to stay at home during the day if they live in the village? Are these new employees of the village going to have to use the time clock like the PD and maintenance workers? I just drove by the fire department and there are no cars out front… just saying.

  4. Ria says:

    @Good bye Po-Po
    You make all these comments about stuff on going in the Village, yet you seem to be unclear about some of your facts. I have not heard at any point over the last 2 years (since the new board took over) any talks about getting rid of the PD. As a matter of fact, there have been several times I have heard in meetings that they have praised them for their work. As far as the statement that the trucks are clean and shiny, that again was the past board members. Go take a look, they really are clean and shiny NOW!!! I think you need to start going to the meetings and see how the new boards takes care of business, because obviously you are still getting your information from the past!!! As far as the New FD. There is still only one Fire Department. The New FD as you are calling it is an Association, not the Village FD.

  5. Mallard says:

    Just for the record the fire department is Spotless the station is clean. The trucks are all checked out from front to back. The person who is there in the morning are there from 7am-3pm if you don’t see a car maybe its because they may have walked or rode a bike or maybe even dropped off. Do not assume just because you don’t see a vehicle there doesn’t mean there’s no one at the station. PD is not going anywhere either so no worries. Go to the meetings everything is fitted in the budget and OK’d. And prior to the paid posistion the fire house was clean and after every call those trucks are rewashed. Ever drove by in the summer? You would have seen the trucks on the apron being washed. What I’m worried about is the fact that certain people have an issue with having a paid member at the station. Out of all departments / PD , PW, and Rescue. Fire is the only one who was NOT getting paid. To actually have a POP posistion is a HUGE step for a small town Volunteer department. Meaning they are moving forward every day. To a better department and staff to insure the safety of the village and to make sure those trucks go out on every call. And The Fire Department also has a Schedule for duty nights 7 nights a week having 4-5 Personel garunteed to be on those trucks no matter what type of emergency that comes in. And the overnight staff is NOT an hourly pay for the record. If people are so concerned about how things are go to the meetings at village hall and please express your concerns. Thats what they are there for….for the people.

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