Silver Lake FD Chief Andrew McFarlane abruptly retires

silver-lake-fd-doorSilver Lake Fire Chief Andrew McFarlane retired effective immediately in a letter sent today to members of the Silver Lake Village Board.

Silver Lake village President Sue Gerber acknowledged that there was a letter, but said in an email this morning to that she had not had time to read it because she was at work.

Village Trustee Roger Johnson, just last week officially appointed chairman of the Emergency Services Committee, also acknowledged McFarlane’s retirement. He said late this morning that he was working on ensuring that the village fire protection services would continue. obtained a copy of McFarlane’s letter from a source who wished to remain anonymous. In the letter, McFarlane blames the Village Board for the fire department’s current troubles.

“The failure of this department falls solely on you the village board for not stopping the attacks of my members, my family and me,” the letter reads. He cites a lack of support from the board and gossiping — including among village staff — as the reason for low morale and participation in the department. At a March Village Board meeting, McFarlane said less than 10 department members regularly respond to calls, though there are more on the roster. On Monday, the Kenosha News reported that Silver Lake FD equipment requested as mutual aid for a box alarm barn fire in Salem did not respond because only one firefighter — who could not drive a truck — responded to the call.

“I apologize for doing this in a time that the department needs stability at the top but this is something that I must do,” McFarlane said in his letter. “It is time for me to concentrate on my family and health.”

McFarlane has been a member of the Silver Lake FD for 23 years and was chief since Aug. of 2012, when he replaced Bill Brown, who had resigned as chief.

“I hope whoever assumes my role as fire chief will be able to right this sinking ship,” McFarlane wrote. “These village citizens deserve the best fire department possible and I did my best to give this village the most professional emergency services department possible. With the lack of support the fire department receives from the village board and the drastic cut to the fire department budget, it is nearly impossible to operate efficiently and keep its members safe.”

McFarlane’s entire retirement letter is available here.




  1. Robert says:

    As I said before the whole silverlake village board needs to be replaced and it should be with high school students whom could do a better job than what you have going on now! what you have now is a bunch of soccer moms and yuppie daddie’s who dont know a ——- thing about how to run a village however they know they are important and can be recognised in so called special events and certain places

  2. Chief replacement? says:

    Now that Chief McFarland has resigned, maybe we can get Mr. Galich to step up and “help out his village” . One of his favorite sayings. Of course, it might be hard to get him to do much as it will require him to quit hanging out over in Salem anxiously waiting for their Safety Officer to retire.

  3. Pete says:

    Thank you Mr. Mcfarlane, as well as your family, for all they have done through the years for Silver Lake. You have been a great example of dedication and sacrifice for the betterment of your community.

  4. Steve ( Doc ) Hopkins says:

    When the going gets tough the the tough quit. Have we not had enough of this I’ll take my ball and go home?

  5. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Doc…’s “support” from folks like you that have pulverized the morale of the SLFD. We can pay a police chief $75K annually, hire police officers, full time public works, village secretary, staff an ambulance station with paid personnel, and yet the board, at the behest of naysayers like you continue to dump on the firefighters. They aren’t tough? Why don’t you stand nose to nose with Roger Pattie and try telling him that? Take $50K out of their budget, pay a fire chief the grand sum of $2000/annually, expect them to use 16 year old equipment that has not been replaced in an orderly Capital Improvement plan, pay them $10/hr. to run into a burning building, and bash them every chance we get. Just curious, who ARE you expecting to show up today or tonight if your house catches fire? Your previous post to “lock up the fire station and start all over” is a pretty distinct possibility. I’ll ask again..”who are you gonna call if your house catches fire”?

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    @Chief replacement….as much as it galls you to think Mr. Galich might be fire chief, his dedication to the community and the SLFD is pretty well established. I suspect he will stand shoulder to shoulder with Fire Chief Pattie and the rest of the firefighters and REFUSE to have the safety of their firefighters and the citizens impugned by a village board that continues to ignore the problems facing the SLFD. If you think that is “quitting”, then you really don’t know the heart and integrity of those firefighters, former Chief McFarlane included. Their backs continue to be pushed up against the wall. Well guess what, they finally pushed back! Go figure. If you folks want to believe that Roger Johnson is the person that will “right this ship”(with guidance from Colleen, of course)..well then keep your life jackets handy. And your homeowner’s insurance policies up to date.

  7. resident says:

    Really Steve (Doc)? THAT’S what you have to say? The Chief has done a wonderful job, considering that he’s had to deal with people that have decided not to “play” fair. His job has been to keep the residents safe – it seems that he’s the only one considering the safety of the residents. He’s been working for the people of the Village for 23 years for Heaven’s Sake! I have a good idea – why don’t you Steve (Doc) sign up to be a fire fighter or an emt and see how much crap you’re willing to take from people that aren’t willing to work with you?

  8. Bullied in Silver Lake says:

    Doc……seriously..your comment “haven’t we had enough of this” could pretty much apply to those of us fed up with the Bully Pulpit that Sue, Colleen, Mike Faber & company have tried to foist upon us. While the library fiasco was bad enough, the lack of support for our fire department, which eroded RAPIDLY under the “new regime” was more than some of us can take. The pending efforts to disband our village and become part of Salem Township are not only a reality, they are looking better every day. Once folks see both the significant decrease to their taxes, coupled with the SIGNIFICANT INCREASE in the level of services they will receive(including fire protection AND Paramedic level service), I don’t think all the “Save Our Rescue Squad” yard signs in the world will stop the momentum. The revolution has begun.

  9. Fading Memories says:

    With the current situation the fire department is facing, I’m not sure I fully understand all of the problems. I kind of remember the Add Hocc group having a bunch of suggestions as to how our fire department could improve themselves. I don’t remember all of the ideas, but I think there were a half dozen or so recommendations. I don’t know that “locking the door and starting over” at the fire house was one of the idea, but maybe it should be considered. But my goodness, what do we do in the meantime if we kick out the firefighters? Will the police chief and his officers have to escort them out of the station as well? We need to get this fixed in a hurry. Looks like our new board has a “learning curve” to go through…..aren’t Chris and Roger former board members? If so, they must have some expertise to help us out here. This is a mess. While Roger seems not too worried, I wish I could say I felt that way.

  10. New Resident says:

    I just moved to Silver Lake a few months ago, so I can’t say I am “up to speed” on the issues facing the fire department and the rescue department. While I think we have a nice little community, I would be very interested in learning more about the possibility of us joining Salem. I don’t know much about the legal ramifications, but from the few neighbors I have spoken with, they are very intrigued about lowering our taxes. I’m told we could keep our ambulance service as well(which seems to be an issue), although they might have to become paramedics? I’m pretty sure they are already, so I don’t fully understand everything, but I am trying to gain as much information as I can, to make an educated , informed decision. I must admit I am concerned about the fire station having their doors locked and the fire chief and firefighters being locked out. Some of the comments I’ve read here are pretty confusing to me.

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