After almost four decades with Arlington Heights, Fire Chief Glenn Eriksen announced Monday that he will be leaving the department next month to take a position with MABAS-Illinois, the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System.
Ericksen will end his 39 years with the Arlington Heights Fire Department on Feb. 13, according to a release from the village. He is only Arlington Heights' fourth fire chief since the village switched from a volunteer department to a full-time paid department in 1958.
Ericksen will be working as section chief of administration with MABAS-Illinois, according to the release. MABAS is a statewide mutual response system for fire and EMS teams.
"It has been a true honor to serve as a member of the Arlington Heights Fire Department for 39 years, and to serve the residents of this village," Ericksen said in a statement released by the village. "It is with mixed emotions that I leave, but at this point in my fire service career I have been given an exciting, new professional opportunity with MABAS--Illinois. I believe the fire department command staff is more than capable of leading this department into the future."
Ericksen's final salary at Arlington Heights was $139,711, according to the village's human resources department. Ericksen could be eligible to earn up to 75 percent of that salary in annual pension, in addition to his new salary at MABAS.
Ericksen did not respond to calls for comment on Monday.
Ericksen started as a fire alarm operator with the Arlington Heights Fire Department in 1974 and became a firefighter in 1981. He was a firefighter/paramedic from 1986 until 1993, when he was promoted to fire lieutenant. He had also been a fire captain, fire commander and deputy fire chief before being named chief in 2004.
"Chief Ericksen's level of commitment to the village of Arlington Heights has been outstanding," said Village Manager Bill Dixon. "We are very appreciative of (his) service with the village, especially his nine years of leadership as fire chief. (Ericksen's) style was that of a team-builder. He empowered his talented staff to do their best at every level."
During Ericksen's time as chief, the fire department obtained a grant that allowed it to hire an additional nine firefighters and was honored with the 2010 SAFE Communities Designation from the National Safety Council on behalf of the World Health Organization. He also oversaw the addition of an emergency operations center, which is used as a communication headquarters for the village in case of a local disaster.
Dixon said he will name an acting fire chief next month before starting an open search for Ericksen's replacement.