1. #1
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    Post Meet your new State Fire Marshall

    CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday named a former
    firefighter and investigator as the state's new fire marshal.
    Peter F. Vina of Maywood will start in his new post on Thursday,
    according to the governor's office. The 50-year-old will be paid
    $98,200.
    "Peter Vina has been a part of fire service at almost every
    level, and he has valuable experience as an internal affairs
    investigator," Blagojevich said in a statement. "Both of these
    experiences will help him make sure the fire marshal's office is
    accountable to the fire fighting community and the residents of
    Illinois."
    Vina was born in Mexico and grew up in Melrose Park. He earned
    an associate's degree in fire technology from Triton College and a
    bachelor's degree in fire administration from Southern Illinois
    University.
    He started as a firefighter with the Maywood Fire Department. He
    worked in Maywood from 1978 to 1989, earning promotions to arson
    investigator and lieutenant.
    In 1989 he moved to the state fire marshal's office, where he
    managed the Chicago office.
    He later served as an internal affairs investigator for the
    Department of Public Aid and as the assistant chief of the Bureau
    of Latino Relations within the Illinois Department of Human
    Services.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office:
    http://www.state.il.us/osfm/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Angry

    Great, Just we need, a guy that NO ONE has ever heard of. Internal affairs?!

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    Ed, do you ever sleep!?!?!!?

    Interesting: He worked in the CHICAGO office of the OSFM. What a shocker. But he's from Maywood. Surely, Rod could've found someone from Chicago for this job? (Don't call me "Shirley.")

    I personnally will withold further comment. Maywood is a damn busy department. I would respect anybody who spent 11 years there. As for the rest of his resume', I guess time will tell. It kinda bothers me that there's no info on how long he worked for OSFM before going to Department of Public Aid, then Department of Human Services. And what prompted these career changes? IOD, or political aspirations? If the former, bully for him; if the latter, well, looks like he succeeded.

    I hope he spends more time in Springfield than Blago.





    Edited to correct my dismal math.
    Last edited by jaybird210; 07-15-2003 at 04:29 PM.
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    I, too, will reserve comment.
    There are many, excellent employees in the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
    You would have to commit serious blunders to completely screw it up.
    However, with Vina's background as an investigator, I don't think "blunder" is his weakness.
    I do wonder about Blago's comments though. Why does he think the OSFM needs someone with internal affairs experience?
    Hey, Hot Rod;
    Not every department in the State of Illinois is corrupt. Stop spending so much money on witch hunts. Or did you raise the fee on that, too?
    CR
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    I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. It's just funny that no one has really heard much about him before now. this may not be such a bad thing, but if the Gov's choice for heading DCFS is any indication, YIKES.

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    Default the "official" announcement

    Just in case somebody hasn't seen the official press release from Rod:
    OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR NEWS
    ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH - GOVERNOR



    For Immediate Release: Contacts:
    July 14, 2003 Cheryle Jackson 312-814-3158
    Abby Ottenhoff 312-814-3158
    Angelynne Amores 312-814-6721
    Tom Schafer 217-782-7355


    Blagojevich appoints Viña as State Fire Marshal

    Former fire fighter and investigator steps into new job immediately

    CHICAGO * Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today appointed former firefighter
    and investigator Peter F. Viña as the new Illinois State Fire Marshal.
    He is the first Hispanic and minority to serve as the State Fire Marshal
    and he begins Thursday, July 17, 2003.

    "Peter Viña has been a part of fire service at almost every level,
    and he has valuable experience as an internal affairs investigator. Both
    of these experiences will help him make sure the fire marshal's office
    is accountable to the fire fighting community and the residents of
    Illinois," said Blagojevich.

    Viña, 50, has nearly 17 years of fire service experience. He spent 11
    years, from 1978 to 1989, with the Maywood Fire Department, working his
    way up from firefighter, to arson investigator, to lieutenant. From 1989
    to 1995 he worked in the State Fire Marshal's office where he managed
    the Chicago office and coordinated several statewide programs, such as
    the Fire Equipment Act.

    From 1995 to 1999, Viña served as an internal affairs investigator for
    the Department of Public Aid, where he worked with law enforcement, the
    department's legal division and labor relations division to root-out
    corruption, fraud and misconduct. Since 1999 to present, Viña has served
    as the assistant chief of the Bureau of Latino Relations within the
    Illinois Department of Human Services.

    He earned his associate's degree in fire technology from Triton
    College and his bachelor's in fire administration from Southern
    Illinois University. Viña received his Arson Investigation Certification
    from the National Fire Academy in Maryland.

    Viña, who is bilingual, was born in Mexico and grew up in Melrose Park,
    a suburb just west of Chicago. He now lives in nearby Maywood with his
    wife Barbara. They have four grown children. Viña serves on the boards
    of the Proviso United Way, Illinois Association of Hispanic State
    Employees and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation.

    - more -
    Add 1


    The State Fire Marshal's Office works with local fire departments to
    provide fire fighter career development, assistance in arson
    investigations as well as providing information on fire prevention
    safety, boiler and pressure vessel safety and petroleum and chemical
    tank safety.

    Viña will earn $98,200 as the new State Fire Marshal.

    - 30-

    Juliann Heminghous, PIO
    Illinois Risk Watch, JFS and Safe for Life, state coordinator
    Illinois State Fire Marshal
    1035 Stevenson Drive
    Springfield, IL 62703-4259
    217/785-1021
    217/558-6504 fax
    juli.heminghous@sfm.state.il.us
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    Default Meet your "old" state fire marshal!

    From the Peoria Journal Star;
    Fire marshal not bitter over losing post
    Ex-Peoria fire chief held position since February 2001

    July 15, 2003

    By MIKE RAMSEY
    of Copley News Service


    CHICAGO - After months of waiting, Illinois State Fire Marshal Ernie Russell finally got word Monday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich will replace him.

    The 64-year-old former Peoria fire chief took the post in early 2001 under Republican Gov. George Ryan but had lobbied to keep the roughly $97,000-a-year job after Blagojevich, a Democrat, took office in January. Russell said he listened to various rumors over the past several weeks, assembled a transition team for his possible successor and went on with business.

    A high-level administration official called this week to deliver the disappointing news.

    "When this job was given to me in February 2001, I knew at that time I was working at the pleasure of the governor," Russell said by telephone from his Springfield office. "When they want to put someone else in that service, they put them in there. There's absolutely no bitterness. That's part of the program."

    Replacing Russell, effective Thursday and pending formal Senate approval, will be former firefighter and investigator Peter Viña of west suburban Maywood, 50, who worked in his city's fire department and the state fire marshal's office before taking jobs with state agencies. He is the first Hispanic and minority to hold the state post, the Blagojevich administration said in a news release.

    Russell said his accomplishments as fire marshal include helping officials identify fire-protection needs for the state and fostering better communication among Illinois' fire professionals. The cabinet-level office assists fire departments in career development and arson investigations and provides information about fire prevention and the safe use of boilers and chemical tanks.

    "The last 2½ years have probably been one of the most educational experiences in my life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything," Russell said.

    "For the 2½ years the guy's been there, he's been going non-stop," said longtime friend and colleague Roy Modglin, who became Peoria fire chief after Russell left. "I think all the fire chiefs throughout the state would say that Ernie has done an excellent job."

    Russell, a Lacon native and U.S. Navy veteran, joined the Peoria Fire Department in 1967 and worked his way up the ranks to become chief in 1994. Silver-haired and nattily dressed, he became known as an affable, if sometimes passionate, fire-safety advocate who had to contend with increasingly tight city budgets.

    State Sen. George Shadid, D-Edwards, went to bat for Russell when Gov. Ryan was seeking a new fire marshal. He defended Blagojevich's right to tap someone else but questioned whether the administration kept Russell properly informed over the past several months.

    "It just seems to me that sometimes it takes a long time for people to make a decision," Shadid said. "I don't know who was holding things up. . . . I don't think anybody should be left in limbo."

    Russell, who has commuted from Peoria to Springfield, said he is considering other "professional opportunities" but declined to elaborate.

    He was not the first Peoria fire chief to become state fire marshal. In November 1983, Gov. James R. Thompson appointed Harold Schmeilski to the job, which he held for about two years.
    At least he went out as the gentleman that he was.
    "Musical State Fire Marshals" has officially begun!
    CR
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    I'm gonna miss that pinky ring..

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    wouldn't you know it. Take off for three days and look what happens
    I will have to hold my comments and give him a chance, but I will tell you things do not look very rosey from here. Internal affairs?
    Thats a long way from whats needed in the OSFM. I had best quit now the more I think about his bio the more bad thoughts I have.
    Proudly serving as Vice-President of the Illinois Delegation of the IACOJ

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    So I guess I'll get to meet the new guy at the meeting on Monday, Aug. 4th for the zero interest loan program.
    Will let you all know.
    CR
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    I MET THE NEW STATE FIRE MARSHAL YESTERDAY!
    CR
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    Originally posted by ChiefReason
    I MET THE NEW STATE FIRE MARSHAL YESTERDAY!
    CR
    .................AND ?

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    And he was friendly, knowledgeable, articulate, good looking and a snappy dresser!
    Not at all like Jay!
    CR
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    Yeah, no $#!+, I'm with MIKEY. How 'bout a report? Instead of more "I'm-CR-lookit-me" horn-blowing?!?! Did ya golf with him, too? No, you didn't, because we at least would've gotten a golf score.....
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    Damn, that's freaky! We're on at the same time.
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    Default WELL!!!! I NEVER....

    WOW! That hurts.
    MIKEY:
    Chief Vina had just returned with the Governor from Bolingbrook, where the Promotions Bill had been signed.
    Chief Vina joined us for a working lunch and we continued to lay the groundwork for rules for what will be the zero interest revolving loan for fire apparatus program. Chief Vina stayed for the balance of the meeting.
    You will get to meet him at the Fair. I think you will find him as I did.
    Please tell your buddy Jay(whom I am not speaking to) that the purpose of this meeting was not golf, which is why I didn't mention golf. I'm sorry if it sounded like I was blowing my own horn. After all, I am giving up vacation days to participate on an advisory committee for a program that my own fire department doesn't qualify for. Sometimes, even I, can't stand my own selfishness. I apologize to everyone but Jay(whom I am not speaking to).
    Jack; if you're out there; I spoke with Chief JT Somer from Salem. Says he knows you. I told him that I met you in Springfield. He described you as "quite a guy". Is there a story there?
    At this time, there is not alot I can tell you about the program. We are on a very vigorous schedule and I will be again asking for input as the process moves along. Be patient and remain interested. This is going to be a great alternative funding mechanism for those who will qualify. It will not be a money panacea, but it will put fire apparatus within reach for departments who can show need.
    Take care and stay tuned.
    CR
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    Default time to step in

    Im on a call back for an extra alarm fire in the division tonight... I want you two to play nice!

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    I'd like to meet our new fire marshall, but seems that the only fire marshall at the DuQuoin fair has been the OLD fire marshall. Ernie was at Firefighter's Day yesterday. He watched the waterfights (or waterball as the northerners call it) and talked with a lot of the guys over the entire weekend.
    Talked with a couple of employees of the OSFM and they haven't even met their boss yet. Not too much good was said about Mr. Vina. He's apparently not been confirmed yet and there's a lot of letters and emails going to legislatures against him. I'm working the tent at the fair a couple of days this week. Maybe he'll show up.
    Of course, the governor himself has only been there for about a half hour. At least that's what I've heard. You Chicago people keeping him locked up up there and won't let him come south to play with us?
    CR, guess I didn't read your previous post in this thread until now. I've only known JT for a couple of years and as far as I know there's no story as to why I'd be "quite a guy".
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

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    Default Vina was not at the meeting today!

    Had another zero interest loan program meeting today. Chief Grady came in from Frankfort. JT Somer came in from Salem. I drove the 2 hours to get there. It's kinda nice to see some old friends in the office, but I like people who are hands on.
    Our committee will meet one more time and then the document goes to legal review. Still on target for Jan. 2004.
    The loan review committee is the last hurdle.
    You should be seeing something in the trade publications about the program.
    If I am not being very specific, it is because there are still details getting worked out and anything before the published document would be speculation at this point. Our recommendations can change somewhere between our committee and the governor's approval, so all's I can say is "stay tuned". If I get a green light, I will give you more.
    CR
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