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posted: 12/4/2013 5:30 AM

Carpentersville, firefighters working on differences

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Carpentersville leaders and the union that represents its full-time firefighters are continuing to work through their differences.

Tuesday night, in closed session, the board discussed some of the staffing issues the union has raised that are tied to its recent contract, but came to no resolution on how to handle them, Village President Ed Ritter said.

"It's nothing settled, we're just continuing to talk with the firefighters," Ritter said. "Nothing's been completely resolved."

In the past, the village used a staffing minimum of 11 or 12 firefighters spread among the three fire stations. Village officials debuted a new staffing model Oct. 19 that puts firefighters in stations based on the demands of the day, rather than using a set minimum number.

This allows them to cut $300,000 in overtime expenses within the fire department, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney has said.

The full-time firefighters contend that's a dangerous move because it means response times will increase, that the village will rely more on surrounding communities in emergencies and that the staffing minimum could be as few as eight, a figure they have said is untenable. They have since launched a social media and public service campaign about the changes.

Officials, meanwhile, say the community will continue to be safe, that mutual aid from other towns is robust and that the full-timers are really upset over the loss of overtime opportunities, something they deny.

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