1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking North Shore Fire Department

    The North Shore Fire Department wishes to invite you to our sit at http://www.nsfire.org

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Thumbs down ummm, very poor web page

    Looks rather basic and not very well put together. Do you guys do the site yourself or pay a company? If you are paying someone, you are getting ripped off.

  3. #3
    runnersworld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Not a good page

    The Greendale Fire Department's page is much better and really flows!

    I wonder if Milwaukee FD would be willing to maintain the site for your department!!!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    I did not see this on the web page www.nsfire.org?
    NSFD’s ability to make future capital purchases questioned
    Fund balance used for more than $340,000 shortfall

    Posted: Jan. 14, 2009
    Fire Chief David Berousek’s recommendation to cover a year-end deficit of $341,383 with fund balance was accepted Jan. 8 by the North Shore Fire Department board of directors.

    The department started 2008 with $1,296,666 in reserve, or fund balance. Since the formation of the department in 1995, the board has attempted to use reserve funds for capital purchases, such as fire engines, ladders and ambulances. After deducting the shortfall and another $286,500, a partial payment on a new fire engine, the department ended 2008 with a fund balance of $668,783. A final $200,000 payment for the fire engine will be deducted from that account in 2009,

    Berousek explained the major factors in the $341,383 deficit, which rose from $204,000 at the end of November.

    Health insurance was 7 percent higher than budgeted; nine retirements in 2008 required a cash payout for unused sick time and severance pay per the labor contract; and overtime costs were higher than budgeted. In addition, attorney’s fees for the labor contract negotiations, rising fuel costs and higher than budgeted costs for phone service contributed to the total deficit.

    The shortfall might have increased to an even higher amount, but the department put a freeze on all unnecessary spending in the fall. It also benefitted from additional revenue from higher than anticipated payments for permit fees and state funding and the sale of used equipment, Berousek said.

    Notice option rejected
    Berousek said the department’s budget provides only a small margin for swings in various accounts.

    “We never could recover from the $300,000 pay out (for retirees) earlier in the year,” he said.

    During the recently concluded labor contract negotiations, management asked for six months notice for retirements but the union rejected the proposal.

    “In order to pay out, we need to budget for it,” Berousek said.

    There is no money in the 2009 budget for retirement payouts. In a typical year, the department would cover the cost of the payouts by holding the position open for a period of time, using the salary and benefit money to cover the cost. That has worked well in past years when there were fewer retirements, but the number of retirements taking place in the first quarter put the department in new territory, requiring not only the payouts but overtime to cover the vacancies. The department also had higher overtime costs throughout the year because of injuries to firefighters.

    Documenting budget changes
    Glendale Mayor Jerry Tepper, a board member, asked the department to provide a clearer month-to-month picture of its financial status in the future.

    Berousek said he reported the health insurance increases, overtime costs and retirement payouts as they took place but agreed to highlight that type of information in 2009.

    Brown Deer Village Manager Russell Van Gompel suggested the board begin to document changes to the budget with formal budget adjustments during the year.

    The adjustment would shift funds within the adopted budget to cover the changes in costs. The board decided to adopt that process in 2009.

    Replenishing account
    The board also discussed how it would make capital purchases in the future.

    “We have deferred the purchase of an ambulance and a staff vehicle in 2009,” Fox Point Village President Mike West said. West is the chairman of the board. “The only way we get contributions to the reserve account is through the operating budget. For the last three budgets there has been no contribution to the reserve fund.”

    At the suggestion of Whitefish Bay Village President Katie Pritchard, the board asked its finance committee to work on a recommendation for the amount of fund balance necessary for department needs and for a plan to reach that amount over a period of time. The committee is expected to have that recommendation for its April meeting.

  5. #5
    XOF is offline
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    Berousek earns an estimated $73,000 tax-free in Wisconsin

    Posted: July 25, 2010 |(135) Comments

    North Shore Fire Chief David Berousek announced earlier this year that he was leaving his post and applying for duty disability because of a heart attack that he suffered last year.

    In February, the state approved Berousek's application for disability pay, clearing the way for him to stay home while earning an estimated $73,000 in tax-free income a year because it was determined that he had suffered a work-related injury.

    But the 54-year-old veteran administrator is not staying home.

    Berousek is working for a consulting firm that conducted a study of Berousek's agency a few years back.

    In that role, he is now back where he started - as chief for a fire department.

    Only now he is doing this on a temporary basis for six communities just outside Houston.

    "Welcome Interim Fire Chief Dave Berousek," says the Hedwig Village, Texas, website. "Chief Berousek was installed as the Interim Chief on Monday, June 21, 2010."

    Under the arrangement, the Village Fire Department in Texas is paying Illinois-based McGrath Consulting Group $8,500 a month for Berousek to serve as interim chief and to help conduct a performance audit of the 50-person agency. The firm is overseeing the search for a new chief.

    No Quarter was alerted to Berousek's arrangement in response to a recent column on the duty disability case of former Milwaukee cop Dave Orlowski. The ex-officer is paid more than $50,000 in tax-free income a year because he is considered "permanently and totally incapacitated for duty," yet the 54-year-old has now completed 10 triathlons in the past 1½ years.

    Berousek, who lives in Cedarburg, said he doesn't expect his new job to last but for a few months - until a permanent chief is selected. News stories have estimated that this will occur in September or October. He said he doesn't want the permanent post.

    Reached at his new fire department, Berousek said he was uniquely qualified for this short-term assignment because he helped oversee the North Shore Fire Department, which provides service to seven suburban communities just north of Milwaukee. He ran the department from its inception in 1995 to earlier this year.

    He declined to say how much of the $8,500 monthly retainer he gets to keep.

    "That's my business," said Berousek, who worked as a firefighter and administrator in Wisconsin for 20 years. "I'm no longer a public employee."

    As for working full time just months after being declared disabled by the state, Berousek emphasized that he is in a low-stress job. He said Wisconsin law presumes that heart attacks are job-related in duty disability cases.

    In his current post, he said, he is mainly reviewing and analyzing records and working at his desk. He is not making runs to fires or accident scenes, as was sometimes required in his North Shore job. His main task, he noted, is finishing an audit of the consolidated fire department and recommending improved management techniques.

    "I wasn't going to put my health in jeopardy, nor am I trying to scam the system," Berousek said. "You know, I'm living."

    To emphasize his point, he said he plans to tell the state all about this extra income at the end of the year. He also said he believes his disability pay will be offset, dollar for dollar, by any money he earns from the consulting firm.

    Not quite.

    Matt Stohr, spokesman for the state Department of Employee Trust Funds, said there is a complicated formula that reduces a disabled person's monthly payments by a fraction of their outside income. The offset increases from a third of outside earnings up to two-thirds of those funds, depending on how much a person earns while on duty disability.

    According to the formula, for instance, Berousek's disability payments would be reduced by about $18,000 a year if he pulls in $50,000 from the consulting company this year. That would put his combined annual income at $105,000.

    That's only about $7,000 more a year than what he made at the North Shore Fire Department, said Robert Whitaker, the current chief. The big difference is half of his current pay would not be taxable.

    In addition, Stohr said, state rules require those on duty disability to report to the state within 30 days of receiving any outside pay, something that Berousek hasn't done. Just to make sure all outside income is reported, the state also requires disabled workers to provide all W-2 tax forms at the end of the year.

    "It does happen where it's not reported in that 30 days," Stohr said.

    Berousek said he was familiar with the consulting company because it is run by Tim McGrath, a retired Brookfield Fire Department chief. Berousek said he has been working for the firm for about a year.

    McGrath conducted an analysis of the North Shore Fire Department in 2005, 10 years after it merged the seven previously separate departments. Whitaker, the current chief, said he couldn't immediately say how much the firm was paid, and Berousek said he was not responsible for the contract.

    Asked if he plans to stay with the consulting company once his stint in Texas is completed, Berousek said, "Should there be something of interest, I will."

    He emphasized that he had no interest in running another fire department, even though he was a finalist to head the Bothell Fire Department in Washington last fall, several months after his heart attack and before his retirement.


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