Palatine mines own ranks for new fire chief
A 20-year veteran of the Palatine Fire Department will soon be its next leader.
Deputy Chief of Operations Scott Andersen, a 45-year-old Palatine resident who has climbed the leadership ranks of his department, on Monday replaces retiring Fire Chief Bob Falardeau.
"He brings great energy to his profession and is very professional in everything he does," said Falardeau, who spent more than 31 years with Palatine, the last two as chief. "He's very a service-oriented, charismatic leader."
Andersen, who is out of town and unavailable for comment, graduated from the Arlington Heights Fire Academy and Northwest Community Hospital's paramedic program. He holds numerous certifications from the Illinois State Fire Marshal, including Fire Officer II.
He's also a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he received a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Village Manager Reid Ottesen will announce his appointment at the Monday night village council meeting. Falardeau will be honored and Andersen will be promoted at a badge pinning ceremony.
Ottesen said his decision to promote Andersen over two other "extremely qualified" candidates was among the toughest he's made in Palatine.
"At the end of the day, I just felt that Scott was the right match for right now," Ottesen said. "He has some leadership characteristics and a style I think is best fit for continuing to move the department forward."
Though he served as chief for just over two years, Falardeau, 58, accomplished quite a bit.
He oversaw the department's first collective bargaining agreement and transition into a union environment, establishing a good working relationship between labor and management that resulted in a recent one-year extension of the labor deal.
Falardeau helped develop an intergovernmental agreement with Lake Zurich to improve response times along the Lake-Cook Road corridor.
He also oversaw construction of the $2.8 million Quentin Road fire station, which came in $200,000 under budget and 30 days ahead of schedule. Since going live May 2, the station appears to have reduced response times to the northwest region of Palatine from more than six minutes to around four minutes.
Falardeau said Andersen's biggest challenge likely will be the budget and doing more with less, an adjustment he's had to make now that his department is down to 91 sworn firefighters after losing four sworn positions through attrition.
"We got a lot done," Falardeau said. "I'm very proud of the men and women who've done an outstanding job for me and the residents of the village of Palatine."