Longtime Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt, who had been on paid leave for nearly two weeks, resigned from the department and announced his retirement Friday, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said.
Schuldt, 53, had been with the fire department for almost 33 years and its chief since 1996. His retirement was effective at the end of the day Friday and he did not respond to requests for comment.
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"I cannot entertain what's in the man's mind to retire," Rooney said. "He was eligible to retire and he chose to do so and I accepted his resignation and retirement paperwork today."
Rooney confirmed Schuldt had been on administrative leave since Jan. 28 but he still would not say why, calling it a personnel matter. Although Rooney made reference to an investigation earlier this week when contacted about Schuldt, Friday, he would not confirm whether Schuldt was under investigation.
"I just said there was an investigation, I didn't tie it to John personally," Rooney said.
The veil of silence extended to the village board Friday.
Village President Ed Ritter deferred to Rooney and refused to comment.
Trustee Pat Schultz said the matter is private and that the board directed Rooney to "handle it."
"You could put a stack of Bibles in front of me, I don't have a clue what's going on, it was not discussed," Schultz said of the issue. "It's too bad that he retired; he was well liked and had a long career here. A very long career."
In a statement, Rooney and the board thanked Schuldt for his contributions to the village and wished him well.
Schuldt was hired in 1980 as a full-time firefighter. With the exception of a stint as acting village manager, he had been fire chief since 1996. Schuldt is also a past president of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association and was named Fire Chief of the Year in 2011 by that group. He has lived in town since 1970.
Last year, Schuldt helped Carpentersville win one of two Governor's Hometown Awards for a memorial that honors local firefighters and those killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Schuldt was also among the most highly compensated employees in the village.
His total compensation last year was $177.984, which included his nearly $130,000 salary.
Due to his age and his years of service with the fire department, Schuldt could have retired several years ago at 75 percent of his salary, Rooney said. If the pension board approves his retirement request, he will make roughly $97,500 a year.
Assistant Chief John Skillman was named acting chief and will run the department in Schuldt's absence. Rooney said officials haven't decided whether a search for a permanent replacement will be necessary.