East Dundee names new fire chief
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The East Dundee and Countryside Fire Protection District has promoted Acting Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf to the role of chief.
Fire protection district board members voted 3-0 this week, ending 15 months of limbo for Schmitendorf and the department.
A 37-year veteran of the department, Schmitendorf, 56, assumed the role of acting chief after longtime Chief Mark Rakow was removed from the position for refusing to attain the advanced certifications expected of the district's chief.
"It's a bit of a relief," said Schmitendorf, who was Rakow's assistant chief from 2000-2009. "It helps the fire district and employees to know that there is some stability ... Nothing has changed except the badge."
Schmitendorf began his career as a paid-on-call firefighter in East Dundee in 1974. He was named assistant chief in 2000 and took over the role as acting chief in December 2009.
Fire protection district President Mark Guth said that in the 15 months since he took over, Schmitendorf has exhibited great leadership.
"He has done a real good job and we decided to promote him," Guth said. "He is a real good executor and he has done a lot of grant writing for the department and we would like to continue with that."
Guth said no other candidates were considered.
The department will leave the position of assistant chief vacant, Guth said, in part for financial reasons.
The fire protection district covers all or portions of East Dundee, South Barrington, Barrington Hills and unincorporated areas in Kane and Cook counties
Former chief Rakow was placed on administrative leave until his contract expires December 31, 2011.
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