Mundelein eliminates public safety post, re-establishes police and fire chiefs

  • Mundelein Fire Chief Bill Lark

    Mundelein Fire Chief Bill Lark

  • Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther

    Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther

 
 
Updated 6/12/2018 6:52 PM

After nearly three years with a public safety director overseeing both the police and fire departments, Mundelein has reverted to having separate police and fire chiefs.

The village board approved the staffing change Monday night without debate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The director's post was held by Eric Guenther, who had been Mundelein's police chief. He returned to that role immediately after Monday's vote.

Bill Lark, Mundelein's chief deputy fire chief, was promoted to fire chief as part of the change. He took the oath of office and received his new badge at Monday's meeting from his 27-year-old son, Brian.

Lark had been chief deputy fire chief since January 2017 and with the department since 1990, starting as a paid-on-call firefighter.

"I am honored in the trust that the village administration and the village board have bestowed upon me to lead the Mundelein Fire Department," Lark said. "I am confident in my knowledge (and) skills to carry out this task and lead the department into the future."

The village board created the public safety director position in August 2015 and gave the job to Guenther, who had been police chief since 2013. The move was prompted by the earlier resignations of Fire Chief Tim Sashko and a deputy chief.

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Guenther ran the administrative aspects of both departments while deputy chiefs handled day-to-day operations. On Tuesday, he said he always expected the assignment would be temporary and that he'd go back to running the police department once Lark had enough experience with budgets, contract negotiations and other administrative tasks to serve as fire chief.

"I enjoyed my experience as public safety director and value the knowledge that I personally obtained over the past three years," Guenther said. "(I) am confident that Bill will do a great job."

The last three years gave village officials opportunities to change the command structure of the fire department and find ways to share services with neighboring departments, Village Administrator John Lobaito said. Those goals led to the recent elimination of two shift lieutenant positions and the sale of a ladder truck.

Now that he's chief, Lark's annual salary will jump to $160,096 from $158,423.

Guenther's salary will drop to $170,000 from $176,789 because he's losing a stipend that was on top of his police chief's salary.

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