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updated: 2/24/2011 12:48 PM

Martin Wallace: Candidate Profile

Bartlett fire protection district, Cook seat

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  • Martin Wallace, running for Bartlett fire protection district's Cook County seat

    Martin Wallace, running for Bartlett fire protection district's Cook County seat




Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A





Office sought: Bartlett fire protection district, Cook seat

Age: 41

Family: Married, one child

Occupation: Senior Account Manager for Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Business, Southern Illinois University

Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

I will elaborate further answering a question below but simply put, the west side did not staff an ambulance which was a broken promise from the previous election.

Key Issue 2

This board needs stronger perspective from the private sector. The residents of Bartlett need representation which has no previous ties to the Fire Protection District and will provide an objective and experienced opinion when deciding on matters of business specifically budget issues.

Key Issue 3

Diversity in the workplace. I will elaborate further in my answer to the following question.

Questions & Answers

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

With nearly 20 years of experience in the insurance and risk management industry, I have the qualifications which allow me to bring private sector/business expertise to public office. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business with a comprehensive understanding of budgeting, metrics, and human resource issues.

I am not a firefighter, so I am not a member of IAFF. My loyalty will rest with the residents of the Fire Protection District. On matters of union contracts, pension reform, and staffing I will bring an unbiased, fiscally conservative approach to the discussions.

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?

I decided to run for trustee of the Fire Protection District because I believe the Board can be enhanced by having a member of the Board who is not part of any fire department, nor has any desire to be a firefighter. The residents within the District will benefit from a trustee who has an objective opinion when deciding on the issues at hand, especially complex financial matters.

I am also running because the Fire Protection District failed to follow through on a promise it made to residents served by the Westside fire station. The Board promised residents as it campaigned for its referendum that the station would be fully staffed. Residents took that promise to mean that we would have the same staff coverage as the other two stations operated by the District. In reality, the District has never staffed an ambulance in this station. Instead, it only staffs a fire suppression company. What is interesting about this set-up is that most of the calls answered by the Department are EMS calls, not fire calls. In addition, often times the ambulances that are staffed by the District are staffed with a third staff member, an increase that was implemented while my opponent served on the Board.

I am a strong supporter of diversity within the workplace, and I feel the Fire District should be making more of an effort to recruit and promote women and minorities into the ranks of the Department. My opponent voted to remove the first and only female member of the Fire Commission. This woman was also of Hispanic heritage. The Fire Commission is appointed by the trustees to run the hiring and promotional testing process for the District. I firmly believe that having women and minorities on the Commission will directly correlate with a Department that is composed of excellent members of diverse backgrounds.

Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest fire safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.

In talking with my friends and neighbors they have a lot of concern that the fire station that serves our area of the District does not have enough staff to run an ambulance. When we voted for the District's tax raising referendum, we were told that the station would be fully staffed. Since the station does not have a full staff, many have voiced the opinion that they feel "shorted" by the District. While the placement of personnel is up to the fire chief and not the Board of Trustee, the Board does represent the interests of the public to the chief.

I believe that there are ways to staff an ambulance with the current staffing of the department and would work with the administration to find funds to make this a reality.

In these tight economic times, budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed, and conversely, are there areas the budget does not give enough money to?

The one thing the recession has taught us is that all budgets can be trimmed and that resources can be prioritized differently to maximize service. I do have concerns about the fact that residents are charged for ambulance service by the Fire District when residents need an ambulance. I have heard from some residents that they believe this to be a "double tax" for service. It is one area I would take a closer look at if elected.

Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency

I believe that the Fire District should look for ways to work more closely with other local taxing bodies to provide service. I would be open to exploring combined service with other fire departments and units of government. I think because I do not have a fire service background, I will be more open to try novel approaches to service delivery. I am not tied to any legacies.

Because I am concerned about the high real estate taxes that we in Bartlett pay, I would be open to assessing a unification of the Fire District with the Village of Bartlett. I think the Board of Trustees owes it to the taxpayers to look at what savings this coming together could bring and what benefits the residents would receive. Make no mistake, I am not ready to endorse a merger; but, I am open to exploring it. I think the concept deserves a serious look.