Lake Zurich set to name Mt. Prospect's fire chief as its own

  • John Malcolm

    John Malcolm

Updated 9/11/2015 7:49 PM

Mount Prospect's fire chief likely will retire from his longtime employer so he can shift into the same top post in Lake Zurich.

Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton and interim Village Manager Steven Husak are recommending John Malcolm be hired as fire chief. Village trustees are expected to vote on Malcolm's hiring at a meeting Sept. 21.


If approved by the village board, Malcolm would take his oath of office Oct. 19, Lake Zurich officials said in an announcement Friday.

Malcolm's pending retirement would end a 29-year career in Mount Prospect, which he said he's been honored to serve.

Malcolm has been Mount Prospect's fire chief since 2010. He joined Mount Prospect as a firefighter/paramedic in 1986 and worked his way up the command chain as lieutenant, deputy chief and fire chief.

Poynton described Malcolm as "a community-oriented individual who truly believes we need to be out in the community promoting all that the village provides."

He said there were 43 resumes received for the job, and the field was narrowed to a final four before Malcolm was selected.

"All of them were excellent candidates," Poynton said. "It was a tough decision to make."

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Malcolm said he looks forward to introducing himself to the Lake Zurich village board and those who live and work in the town.

"I will dedicate myself to working tirelessly for improved collaborative relationships, both internally and externally," he said.

Mount Prospect acting Village Manager Dave Strahl expressed disappointment about Malcom's pending departure in a statement he issued Friday.

"I am sorry to see John leave, for he is a highly qualified professional who I have enjoyed working with in numerous capacities during his fire service career here, but I understand the need to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves and wish him all the best," Strahl said.

Strahl added he'll evaluate options on how to fill the Mount Prospect fire chief position.

Before he was selected as Mount Prospect's fire chief, Malcolm became involved in several aspects of the department, including oversight of underwater rescue, hazardous materials and technical rescue teams. He was responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations in his 12 years as deputy fire chief.

Malcolm also would become chief of the Lake Zurich Rural Fire Protection District, a taxing agency separate from the village. Through an agreement, the rural fire protection district receives service from the village for Deer Park, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and unincorporated areas.

According to Lake Zurich's fire chief recruitment profile, the salary range for the job is $92,265 to $142,372.

Malcom would replace former Chief David Wheelock, who retired in May after being arrested and charged with domestic battery. Wheelock, 54, has denied all accusations. Division Chief John Kelly was named acting fire chief and emergency management director after Wheelock's arrest.

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