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June 22, 2024

Firemen Say Dalzell Mayor Threatened To Evict Fire Protection District From Building –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On November 9, 2023

Dalzell, Ill. (ECWd) –

Press release …

On November 7, 2023 at 7:00 PM, a meeting was called by Dalzell Mayor Gary Orlandi to discuss the relationship between the Village of Dalzell and the Dalzell Fire Protection District.  In attendance were Mayor Orlandi, Village of Dalzell attorney Sheryl Churney, the Dalzell Fire Protection District board of trustees, and various members of the Dalzell Fire Protection District.

Prior to the meeting, members of the Fire Department were informed that Mayor Orlandi wished that they not be present at the meeting, however multiple personnel continued to attend to ensure transparency.  To our knowledge, the Village board of trustees were not made aware of this meeting.

The general public was not made aware by any means of communication prior to the meeting.

Throughout the course of the meeting, the Fire Protection District was informed that the long-standing verbal “handshake” agreement between the Village and the Fire Protection District regarding use of the Village Hall / Louis R Bernabei Fire Station was no longer in effect.  Mayor Orlandi, through the Village attorney, demanded that the fire apparatus be rearranged or even sold to allow for a police patrol vehicle to be parked in the building and to allow Village Clerk Jyll Pozzi park in the building, potentially hindering emergency response by blocking fire apparatus from leaving the building.

Jyll has repeatedly demanded that she be allowed to park in the building for reasons unknown.

The Fire Protection District has always been willing to accommodate the Village police vehicle, as it too is an emergency vehicle. The Village also demanded that cameras installed by the Fire Department following the theft of various items be removed from the premises.  The Village lastly demanded that the Fire Protection District remove apparatus from the station whenever the Village rented the building or hosted an event.  On a prior occasion, multiple fire apparatus failed to start after they were left outside in cold conditions for multiple days.  Attempts by Fire Department personnel to raise these concerns were met by objections from the Village attorney, who stated that the Fire Department personnel were not invited to speak and that their opinions did not matter.  The Fire Protection District was advised that their failure to comply with the demands made by the Village would result in their expulsion from the Village Hall / Louis R Bernabei Fire Station.  After the Fire Department members again attempted to voice their concerns, the Village attorney suggested that the Fire Protection District dissolve the Fire Department and seek an alternative solution to fire protection.

The Dalzell Fire Department is a volunteer fire department and members receive no compensation for their services.  Even with a minimal roster of six personnel, we continue to provide uninterrupted service to those that we service.  However, as the result of these reckless actions by Village of Dalzell officials, our fear is that we would be unable to provide fire suppression and emergency medical services should we be expelled from our current location.  In the event that we are expelled, fire apparatus may be unable to respond to calls for service and crucial life-saving equipment that is kept on the apparatus may be rendered inoperable.  Medications kept on board two of the apparatus may even become ineffective should they be kept in extreme temperatures.  These demands are placing the convenience of Village officials before the safety of those that we are sworn to protect and they place lives and property at a substantial risk.  Fire apparatus will be unable to hold water as they will be kept outside, possibly even at members’ residences, should they be expelled from the existing location.

It is our goal to provide uninterrupted service. Without uninterrupted use of the Village Hall / Louis R Bernabei Fire Station, the Dalzell Fire Department may be unable to continue to respond to emergency calls for service.  Our hope is that the citizens of Dalzell will make their voices heard and let Village officials know that their reckless actions that endanger everyone’s well-being will not be tolerated.

Respectfully,
Dalzell Fire Department Personnel

Tom Riordan

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ECWD note: Starved Rock Media has reported (here) that the Mayor and village Attorney have denied the above accusations.

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2 Comments
  • Jack Tarleton
    Posted at 21:55h, 09 November Reply

    Sounds like Jyll is quite the Karyn.

  • Michael Warnick
    Posted at 14:19h, 12 December Reply

    Of course the other parties are going to deny the accusations. This is small town politics at it’s best, second only to Doltons Queen Mayor.

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