The St. Charles Countryside Fire Protection District took a definitive step toward independence Wednesday night.
Trustees voted to hire a new employee to ensure the fire department trustees hope to create has everything it needs.
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The part-time position, called the "technical director of fire and rescue," will be someone with a background in fire protection and medical services. The job description involves setting up the department's emergency medical system and securing a mutual aid agreement for major emergencies with neighboring departments.
"We'll announce the name of the person within 48 hours," district President Jim Gaffney said. "This is not the fire chief. That will be addressed after we have our emergency provider. We are all volunteers on this board. We need someone with the expertise for the next step. This will give us that."
The next step is trustees actually selecting an emergency services provider. A citizen advisory committee will review a score card of organizations responding to a request for proposals from would-be emergency providers next Monday night.
The district received three such proposals. One proposal came from Metro Paramedic Services. Another proposal came from American Emergency Services. And the third proposal is from the city of St. Charles, which is the very same organization the district is trying to separate from.
Trustees have repeatedly said they can't afford to pay what the city wants to charge them for emergency services any more. No detail was provided about the proposals to know if St. Charles shrank the price tag on its offer.
District trustees may select an emergency services provider as soon as next Tuesday night.