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updated: 3/22/2013 9:37 AM

Virgil Corless: Candidate Profile

Algonquin-LITH Fire Board (2-year Term)

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  • Virgil Corless, running for Algonquin-LITH Fire Board (2-year Term)

    Virgil Corless, running for Algonquin-LITH Fire Board (2-year Term)




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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Office sought: Algonquin-LITH Fire Board (2-year Terms)

Age: 61

Family: Married to my wife Terri for 42 years. Two children Clayton and Angie, and two grandchildren Kaia and Koen.

Occupation: AT&T Retired 2000

Education: National Louis Univ. B.A. Business

Civic involvement: Algonquin Lake in the Hills Emergency Ambulance Service 1993-1997

Algonquin Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, Firefighter Paramedic 1997-2007

Algonquin Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District Board of Trustees 2007- Present

Carpentersville Fire Department, Firefighter Paramedic 2007-2010

Elected offices held: First Term (2007-2013)

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

Questions & Answers

What is your number 1 campaign issue?

Economics: Declining EAV, low CPI, and high foreclosure rates all equal "the new norm." The old, tried-and-true budgeting process of "wait and see what the maximum rate we can pass along to the taxpayer and then build the budget to fit" will no longer work. In fact, it should have never been the budgeting model at all. If re-elected I will encourage my fellow board members to support changes to the base-line budget process, requiring a November deadline, when the Budget and Appropriations ordinance is passed. When the final dollars are released by the county, the budget is either reduced to fit within the actual amount, or the excess will go into the reserve fund to pay for future expenses. The bottom line--reduction of outstanding debt by minimizing borrowing.

What is your number 2 campaign issue?

Our Employees: As a trustee, I will continue the practice of program managers presenting their proposals at our Committee of the Whole meetings. This practice has been a win-win-win solution. Our staff wins from having the opportunity to learn leadership and management skills (oral/written communications, cost/benefit analysis, team and conscious-building, etc.). Senior staff benefits from an informal mentoring process to build the skill sets outside traditional Fire/EMS. The community and board benefit from learning what value the project or program has in serving the public's best interest.

Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.

Service: This one is personal. I believe every resident deserves equal service. Just over two years ago, I agreed to lower the staffing level at Station Three (east of the river) to staff the new tower truck at Station One.

In supporting that decision, I did not understand an ambulance would be taken out of service. The term "jump company" was used to explain the staffing at Station Three.

My understanding was this: if a call was for a house fire, the crew would respond with an engine. If the call was a medical emergency, the crew would respond with an ambulance. In reality, the new policy required the engine to run all calls, and an ambulance was dispatched from Station One or Two. I immediately researched a solution to reverse that decision, and today, the residents in area three have an ambulance respond to their EMS emergencies, not a fire engine. My priority is straight forward--life first, property second.

Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term

1.The creation and implementation of a five year, strategic plan with supporting annual goals and objectives (including: cost, personnel, equipment, and service deliverables).

2.The institution of operational plans and procedures supporting the concept of "Shared Services." In other words, rather than each department having a reserve engine, ambulance, brush truck or other apparatus, each agency would own one piece, and the others would share the repair and maintenance costs, having a reduction ratio of 3:1 or possibly 4:1 in total reserve apparatus inventory.

3.The creation of an accreditation system. Accreditation provides a systematic approach to current and future department expenditures. Our fire department must operate within a system that validates and proves decisions on expenditures, policies, and programs are truly in line with the expectations and needs of our community, and not simply a product of history and nostalgia.

How should the fire protection district improve its services

If I can accomplish my aforementioned goals, all of the district's services will improve.

Are you satisfied with the district's response times? If yes, please explain; if no, please offer your suggestions on how to improve.

Yes. The Chief provides detailed written reports regarding response times; this information is posted on the district's website each month. Any alarm below "acceptable" standards is immediately reviewed and, if necessary, appropriate action is taken.

What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve on the fire district board?

1. I have done the job (firefighter, paramedic, fire officer) for more than 17 years (14 ALFPD, 3 C'ville). I have cleaned toilets, mopped floors, served as committee chair, cleaned vehicles, and worked beyond duty hours, helping fellow firefighters complete their training requirements, etc. Several of our firefighters still refer to me as "Captain," something I take great pride in. I believe I have earned their respect. On May 1, 2013, I will have served the district for 20 years.

2. As Trustee, I have annually participated in conferences for fire district trustees, both at the state and regional levels. I was the first district trustee to complete the Illinois State Fire Marshal Advanced Trustee Training. I currently reside on the board of directors for the Northern Illinois Alliance of Fire Protection Districts.

3. "What you see is what you get." I am straight-forward person, and I will answer questions, no political jargon. I will treat people with respect and dignity--even in disagreement. However, if we have differing views, I will not compromise my values. I believe "what's right is right," and that is what voters can expect.

4. I am a retired AT&T manager who spent over 30 years leading a vast array of organizations from IT to human resources. My experiences include: operations, site planning, disaster recovery planning, sales and technical training, and re-organizing departments and organizations.