Janesville71.8°

Darien firefighters resign; more could follow

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Kayla Bunge
August 7, 2008
— As many as five members of the Darien Fire Department left their gear at the fire station Tuesday night, a move that could signal their resignations, Village President Robert Metzner said.

“There were five outfits laying there on the floor,” he said.


Fire Chief Dan Nickels said although five sets of gear were left at the station, only two firefighters have submitted letters of resignation.


“Until we get letters, they haven’t resigned,” he said.


Metzner said the resignations came after years of problems with another member of the fire department who routinely has overstepped his authoritative boundaries.


“He’s been trying to run the show,” he said, “and he’s not qualified in many respects to do that.”


Metzner said the firefighters decided together that they’d “had it” with the employee’s behavior.


Nickels said one firefighter who submitted a letter of resignation had planned to leave months ago because he lives out of the department’s service area and no longer wanted to commute. He said the other firefighter who submitted a letter of resignation left because he didn’t agree with a change made to how the department is run.


Metzner said a couple more firefighters have threatened to resign. Nickels confirmed the rumor but said they could change their minds.


The village is concerned that if more firefighters leave the department, it would be understaffed.


“If we lose them, we’re going to be hurting for fire protection,” Metzner said.


The fire department has 26 paid on-call volunteer firefighters. The department serves Darien, Darien Township and half of Richmond and Bradford townships.


Nickels said he isn’t concerned.


“We’ve got dedicated members,” he said. “They’ll be there to handle the calls.”


The Darien Village Board and Darien Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. today at the Darien Senior Center, 47 Park St., to discuss personnel issues and possibly make a decision regarding the department, Metzner said.


“(The firefighters who resigned) said if we get things straightened out, they might be willing to come back,” he said.


Metzner said the resignations are concerning.


“This is a serious thing,” he said. “Some major decisions will have to be made.”



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