Salem Lakes creates, fills temporary safety coordinator position

Newly appointed Salem Lakes temporary safety coordinator Alan Carr (center, facing camera) talks with some of the firefighters who attended Friday evening’s special VIllage Board meeting after the meeting.

The Salem Lakes Village Board at a special meeting Friday created and then filled a position designed to bridge a gap for fire department administration before an interim chief can be appointed.

The new position is called a temporary safety coordinator. The coordinator will serve as a liaison between neighboring departments, county dispatch, the fire department, the Fire Commission and village administration. The board decided to create it as a temporary village employee position. The vote to approve was unanimous with Trustee Bill Barhyte absent. The coordinator is expected to serve only until Nov. 30, when the Fire Commission is expected to choose an interim fire chief.

Alan Carr, a village resident and retired Kenosha Fire Department captain, was appointed to fill the position starting immediately.

Carr addressed the meeting giving a review of his experience. Besides Kenosha, he also has worked with Pleasant Prairie Fire and Rescue and Paris Fire and Rescue.

“‘Because I live in the community I am willing to help,” Carr said. “I’m willing to take on that challenge for a short period of time. It would be my honor to help.”

Carr will not be performing any duties of a fire chief, village President Rita Bucur said.

“I want to make it clear we are not hiring an interim chief,” Bucur said.

A gap in fire department leadership was created when former Chief James Lejcar resigned Monday evening. Fire Marshal/Inspector Steve Ptaszynski resigned Sunday. Both have been under fire for most of this year after two local businesses filed formal complaints about unfair fire inspections. The resignations leaves Salem Fire/Rescue with no officers above lieutenant.

Interim village administrator David Bretl said the new position was needed to cover for his own lack of experience in proper fire department administration. He has never had to work without top leadership in place in a fire department.

“Someone has to coordinate the resources,” Bretl said. “I need a resource to make sure the community is safe and our firefighters are safe and that operations are continuing in an efficient manner.”

A fire chief or interim chief for a village fire department can only be hired by a fire commission. The Salem Lakes Fire Commission is currently advertising for applicants for interim chief, with a goal to hire someone by Nov. 30.

When the interim chief is hired, the safety coordinator would no longer be needed.


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