While I have made no public comments on the election or the candidates, I must respond to the following:
At the candidate forum on March 21, River Forest trustee candidate Tom Cargie stated “the one issue I have looked at and I find fascinating is the fire district, and it could possibly save a shift which is seven firefighters.” I would be extremely interested in Mr. Cargie’s analysis and how he can eliminate a shift of firefighters in River Forest (and for the record, a shift consists of 6 employees — five firefighter/paramedics and one lieutenant). This would seem to suggest that River Forest would not man its firehouse every third day? Has Mr. Cargie reviewed the current contract for firefighters (which is available online on the village’s website)?
He added, “It is just having the motivation to do it. It was in the citizens committee report, a proposal that the village look at a fire protection district as a means of saving money. In that three years since the citizens committee report came out, the village board hasn’t done anything, and that’s because I am assuming the president has not pushed that issue. I think Cathy [Adduci] will push that issue and I will simply support her in pushing that issue.”
The issue of a fire protection district has been discussed considerably and it was discussed by the Village Fire Committee in October 2009. At that meeting, Fire Chief Jim Eggert stated, “It gives you an opportunity to do what I’ve looked at for a long time, which is to dump boundaries” and Trustee Adduci called the district concept, “not a novel idea” (see Wednesday Journal, Oct. 21, 2009). If Mr. Cargie would have simply read the paper as part of his studies, he would have found an in-depth article in WJ dated June 8, 2010, including the following: “John Rigas, River Forest village president, said he thinks it could work for River Forest. ‘I think, at a minimum, you have to explore it, just to make a decision based on the pros and the cons.’ Right now, Rigas has talked to Forest Park, North Riverside, Elmwood Park and Oak Park about the possibility of sitting down to discuss the idea. Oak Park Village President David Pope is reaching out to Berwyn.”
Fire Chief Eggert has had communications with several area fire chiefs regarding this issue and has reported back to the board. As you can see, Mr. Cargie, the village president did push the issue and it was brought to the entire village board, which appropriately pushed the issue directly into the Village Public Safety Committee, chaired by Trustee Adduci, which has not met on this topic since. In fact each of the last two budget years, the board has allocated money to investigate this issue.
Mr. Cargie, good candidates, like good trustees, make decisions on facts not assumptions.
John Rigas is the River Forest village president.