Randall Town Board approves slate of Randall FD officers

randall-fd-doorThe Randall Town Board on Thursday approved a slate of officers for the Randall Fire Department for 2014.

The approval came on a 3 to 1 vote. Supervisor Randy Kaskin voted against approving the slate and Chairman Bob Stoll abstained. Stoll was one of the officer appointees.

The approval came after Philip Johnson, Randall resident and division chief for the Kenosha Fire Department, spoke from the audience asking the board to delay the approval until the board could examine the credentials of the appointees. Johnson contended some were not certified for the positions they would be assuming and he also objected to how many of them — including Chief Matt Gronke — do not live in the town.

“It should not be a coffee clutch; it should be a group of people dedicated to this town,” said Johnson.

Stoll, who was appointed Bassett Station captain, pointed out that Gronke lives about “33 feet” from being in Randall (Gronke’s home is in Twin Lakes).

Nancy Kemp, a Randall resident and fire department member who was also in the audience, defended the officers slate.

“Just because the people serving on our fire department don’t live in town doesn’t mean they are not dedicated … these people show up,” Kemp said. “They are just a great team to work with.”

Kaskin did not elaborate on his vote during debate.

The slate is recommended by the fire department membership. The top three positions — chief and two battalion chiefs — are elected by the fire department membership. Those three then appoint the line officers.

Recommended by the fire department and approved by the town board for the top positions were: Matt Gronke, chief; Ken Foscz, Bassett battalion chief; and Paul Pfenninger, Powers Lake battalion chief.

Line officers are: Stoll, Bassett captain; Chris Brown, Powers Lake captain; Bob Gillmann, Bassett lieutenant; Ken Wienke, Powers Lake lieutenant; Tom Huffine, dive master; Ryan Sereini, assistant dive master; Mike Kaphengst, secretary; Bruce Schaal, treasurer; Ted Wyka, training officer.




  1. Jeff S says:

    Second ice storm this year with no salt on roads. No money for salt but promotions for firemen what a joke.

  2. Concerned Citizen says:

    Get over it Johnson, move to Kenosha if you are that pissed that you are longer an active member, all for good reason. You have no place being on a respectable dept. like Randall any way.

  3. Bernard Punsley says:

    Concerned Citizen…your subtle “slam” at the Kenosha Fire Department was unwarranted. While I do not know Mr. Johnson’s motives, certainly any command officer on the Randall Fire Department should be qualified. I’m not saying they are not. And the selection system REEKS of cronyism, the “good ol’ boys” club at it’s finest…you know…”you vote for me…I’ll appoint you”! I’m not saying Randall FD is not a respectable department……2 qualifiers I might add are that 1.RFD being able to get a fire rig out the door with 3 firefighters on it might be like winning the state lottery. 2. Randall FD relies on Silver Lake Rescue Squad to provide their Emergency Medical Services. So Concerned Citizen, put your pride back in your pocket next to your pager. And take the “Fireman Farkle” sign off your backside that somebody taped to you! And to Jeff S., I believe those firefighters deserve those promotions, I’m not 100% certain the policy/procedure is the best. But comparing your fire department to the public works department does a disservice to both!

  4. Bernard Punsley says:

    And let’s not forget “the GOON factor” either!

  5. Jeff S says:

    Randalls fire house just turned into a glorified frat house.

  6. Jeff S says:

    This is to Phil. Randall needs more people like you. An example of it’s the man who makes the uniform.

  7. Ryan S says:

    Jeff S,

    Are you saying that the fire fighter promotions are paid and Randall doesn’t have money for salt? All the Randall roads were salted were I was driving and if you didn’t know the firefighters are no paid.

  8. Bernard Punsley says:

    Some words of wisdom to the Randall Fire Department: “Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight”!

  9. Bernard Punsley says:

    Qualifications. Either the officers have them or they don’t. If they don’t????

  10. Jeff S says:

    Hey Ryan try driving in Nippersink.

  11. Ryan S says:

    Words of wisdom what are you trying to say? Say what you want to say instead of hiding behind your words.

  12. Ryan S says:

    Jeff I am sorry do not drive over that way I will take your word on that but the firefighter do not get paid.

  13. Ryan S says:


    Have you ever attended a meeting at the fire dept.? I think all you comments come second hand. There is no good old boys club at the RFD there is a good of People who care for Randall and as for the officers that is decided by the Cheif and two Batallion chiefs so I would think they know who is right for the job and who is not. Just saying.

  14. Ron says:

    To my fellow Randall citizens: It looks like the we have finally made the big time and have been awarded the attention of Mr. Punsley. He seems to be the champion of the poor and oppressed KFD personnel. They of the unlimited sick time and the $ 800k in unanticipated overtime. What a charmed life they lead. Some even bring a KFD vehicle home with them.

  15. Bernard Punsley says:

    Ron…..whatever problems the Randall Fire Department might be undergoing, I’m pretty confident they were not caused by the Kenosha Fire Department! “Concerned Citizen” took the first shot at them, now you joined on board. Nobody has bothered to answer my query as to whether or not the officers are qualified or not. I never said they were not. Nobody has told us they are. Ryan S. admits “I would think they(the Cheif-sic- and two Battalion chiefs)know who is right for the job and who is not. I’m not saying they don’t know. I’m asking if they have the qualifications. Mr. Johnson did as well, and somehow, the Kenosha Fire Department got dragged into all of this. If the Randall Fire Department, as fine a department as it might be, wants to compare itself to the Kenosha Fire Department, well have at it. Nobody has answered my concern as to whether or not RFD can get a rig out the door in a timely fashion during the day, NOR my assertation that RFD’s EMS capabilities are certainly suspect, boasting they run with Silver Lake Rescue Squad. The “FARKLE FACTOR” is pretty apparent here…….has SLRS been slipping you guys some of their drinking water?

  16. Bernard Punsley says:

    To Ryan S…..”Farkle Wannabe’s”….. can you understand that or do you still think I’m “hiding behind my words”.?

  17. TeddW says:

    As far as response times: Randall’s are are equal to or better than the all volunteer depts in Kenosha County…
    As far as EMS response: RFD has First Responders, and uses Silver Lake and Twin Lakes for Transports It would be cost prohibitive to staff an EMT+ level squad. That is the town board being fiscally responsible. Quality care from the providers.
    Bernard, did Phil promise you a full time job with the Regional Fire Dept when you retire from your full time job??? It’s no secret that is his objective so when he retires from KFD he and a few of his buddies can have a second income while reaping the retirement bennies from KFD…

  18. Jeff S says:

    It’s 4:30 pm Sunday and no plows on 94th place in Randall!

  19. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well Tedd…..you conveniently left out whether or the RFD officers were qualified or not….again, I’m not say they are not, but nobody is saying that they are!@ If you want to brag about RFD response times, especially during the day, well then have at it. Ditto for your EMS response. I did notice you slipped in the term “volunteer ” departments. Are you gonna try and convince folks that the RFD gets a rig out the door in the same time that Bristol and Salem do? Nice try.What the KFD and their “retirement bennies”, which are an obvious sore spot for you, have to do with the situation in Randall still is kind of baffling. As far as “reaping retirement bennies” from the KFD, I’m pretty certain that anybody that retires from the KFD has EARNED those benefits. I’d be curious as to what you do for a “profession”, what kind of “benefits” you have. How any of this applies to the RFD? And for the town being “fiscally responsible”………I’ve seen the “taj mahal” fire station they built. Pretty impressive, I must say. Something the firefighters and community should be proud of, no doubt. Fiscally responsible???? Give me a break. Ditto for your Supthen aerial!!!! Try again.

  20. Ron says:

    Cheers for TeddW.

    He has certainly hit the nail on the head with far fewer words than Mr. Punsley. There probably was a promise of a ” consultant ” position with the regional fire authority. It has been known to happen elsewhere. The REAL attitude of KFD seems to start at the top of the heap with the chief and flows down through the ranks to the rest of the officers. Too bad Phil did not get his dream of being RFD chief. Maybe next time. How many times has it been so far-6?

  21. Ryan S. says:


    When your or your neighbors house or someone you know is on fire you will be glad that Randall has that SUPTHEN AERIAL or the other top of the line equipment that Randall has. You have to have good equipment that is reliable to get the job done. Also are you a Randall tax payer? If not why don’t you just stop talking about things you do not know. If you are a tax payer of the town come to a monthly meeting the second Monday of the month at 7:00pm and voice your opinion and see what people have to say it is open to the public. As for the officers…..as far as I know they are all qualified for the positions they have been put in or voted in.

  22. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Ryan…..thanks for your response, well said. My comment on the Sutphen aerial was in response to Tedd W;’s contention that Randall was being “fiscally responsible”. The Sutpen aerial is a “Cadillac”, as good as one as there is in the industry. Could RFD spent less and got an aerial that would do the job without all the “bells and whistles”. Absolutely. Ditto for the Taj Mahal fire station they built.
    I dont’ believe either of those purchases were “fiscally responsible”. And once again I will reiterate, I never said the officers were not quaified, I, like Mr.Johnson ask if they WERE. Nobody seems to be able to answer that. Your “as far as I know”, while honest, does not really answer the question. Why won’t anybody in authority answer that? And what does Mr. Johnson’s position with the KFD have to do with any issues on the RFD? Nobody seems to be able to answer that either. Maybe you could, you seem to at least have a level headed grasp as to what is going on here. In the meantime, some of these issue seem to “Confound the confounded”!

  23. Bernard Punsley says:

    Well….the “light finally dawned ” on me. Randall Fire Department is worried that Mr. Johnson and “his buddies” from the Kenosha Fire Department are going to form a “regional fire authority” so they can take over the fire departments in western Kenosha County, so they can all become Fire Chiefs. Whew. Who knew? Well, certainly Ron & Tedd W. Now everyone does…the secret is out! Thanks for exposing “the MASTER PLAN”. Mr. Johnson, I guess it’s back to the “drawing board” for you. What were you THINKING!!???

  24. Ron says:

    Well is right…. The problem that Mr. Punsley does not understand is not qualification but attitude. The attitude of KFD starts with the Chief and flows down through the ranks and maight have included you at one time. Could be!!!

  25. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Ron, once again(and you are correct, I do NOT understand)you have FAILED to explain how ANYTHING the KFD does(attitude, benefits, etc)ties in to any problems or issues that the RFD might have. Let’s say the KFD is the worst fire department in the world with mediocre command staff, officers and firefigher. Exactly HOW does that make the RFD a better department or address any of the issues they might be having? Whatever “issues” the RFD has, I’m pretty sure the KFD has NOTHING to do with them. Your contentions continue to “confound the confounded”. So now that Mr. Johnson, the KFD and myself have become the”whipping boys” of the RFD, who’s next on your list, the late Mother Theresa?

  26. Bernard Punsley says:

    Many of us out here in “la la land” are STILL WAITING for some answers, which seem to be conveniently ignored.
    1. What are the qualifications to be appointed Fire Chief-RFD?
    2. What are the qualifications to be appointed Battalion Chief-RFD?
    3. What are the qualifications to be appointed Fire Officer-RFD?

    Again, I have not maintained that any RFD personnel are not qualified. In most fire departments, the qualifications are a matter of public record. Seems to be a big secret in Randall.

    My understanding of the “Promotion Process” is:
    1. The Fire Chief and Battalion Chiefs are “voted in” by the RFD membership.
    2. The Fire Officers are then appointed by the Fire Chief and BCs.

    Imagine your place of employment, you and your co-workers get to vote on who you want to be your boss, and then that boss gets to decide who gets promoted or pay raises. Only in America, Land of Opportunity”.

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