Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District is increasing staffing levels at its two fire stations, opening the door to hire Barrington firefighters who will be losing their jobs.
The 19 firefighters/paramedics are scheduled for layoffs in December as a result of the village of Barrington’s restructuring of its fire department.
“Our goal is to hire all of the former Barrington firefighters who lose their jobs with the village,” BCFPD Chief/Administrator Jeff Swanson said in a statement released Tuesday. “Their knowledge and experience serving District residents will be immensely beneficial when we begin operations on January 1.”
Barrington’s Board of Trustees began restructuring the fire department’s staff because the District chose to end an intergovernmental agreement where it purchases emergency fire and medical service from the village’s fire department. The agreement expires on Dec. 31. The split is due to the District’s desire to hire more firefighters while the village argued against the idea citing high pensions costs.
The District is now forming its own fire department. As part of that effort, the Fire District’s board decided it would be staffing its two fire stations with at least five firefighters plus a company officer at each station per 24-hour shift, according to the release. A commander based in Fire Station 3 will oversee all shift operations.
The new structure also adds a deputy chief position along with two district chief positions to oversee training and fire prevention efforts.
Barrington firefighters who will lose their jobs in December can continue their careers with the BCFPD through the District’s staffing agreement with Schiller Park-based Paramedic Services of Illinois (PSI).
Firefighters will receive hourly pay and vacation benefits that are nearly identical to what they currently earn, the release stated.
New BCFPD firefighters will not have a pension plan when the District starts operations on Jan. 1 because the District has not passed a pension levy to cover contributions to the state pension funds, a spokesman said.
The District could provide a pension fund in the future through a possible ballot referendum where taxpayers would be asked if they are in favor of the District establishing a pension levy, a spokesman said.
Firefighters will have retirement accounts through PSI.
The District is also exploring opportunities to partner with other districts to share the costs of paid-on-premise personnel who could serve multiple districts as needed.