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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post State Fire Marshall squabble

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois Senate committee rejected
    the governor's nominee for state fire marshal Thursday in a dispute
    that involves turf battles, race and anger over a Chicago fire that
    killed six people.
    Peter Vina still might wind up being confirmed as fire marshal,
    however. Senate leaders agreed to consider his nomination again in
    January.
    Whether Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants him confirmed was not clear.
    Spokeswoman Cheryle Jackson said the governor is "following the
    process" and will work with the Senate on deciding what to do.
    "We have to first talk with the senators to see what their
    problems and concerns are," she said.
    Vina, who was named acting fire marshal in July, got only one
    vote when the Senate Executive Appointments Committee considered
    his nomination.
    Committee Chairman Rickey Hendon, D-Chicago, criticized Vina's
    limited role in investigating a deadly fire last month at the Cook
    County Administration Building, saying it raises questions about
    his competence. Blagojevich ended up bringing in an outside expert
    - James Lee Witt, former head of the Federal Emergency Management
    Agency - at a cost of $1 million.
    "He should have said to the governor, 'I can do this,"' Hendon
    said.
    Jackson said the decision was not a reflection on Vina's
    abilities but simply a desire to have the very best person
    investigate the fire. Vina told the committee that criticism of his
    work was coming from disgruntled former employees.
    Vina, a former firefighter and investigator for the Public Aid
    Department, later released a statement saying he would work hard
    over the next two months to prove himself and answer senators'
    questions.
    "I feel confident that when my nomination vote is reconsidered,
    I will be favorably recommended to the Senate," he said.
    After the hearing, Hendon offered two other complaints. He
    questioned Vina's commitment to hiring women and minorities, and he
    complained that Blagojevich has not worked with senators on
    choosing the best nominees for state jobs.
    "The Constitution calls for the advice and consent of the
    Senate, and the governor's office truly hasn't been seeking our
    advice, just expecting our consent," Hendon said. "The people of
    Illinois did not send me down here to just be a rubber stamp for
    any governor, even though I like this governor."
    Hispanic lawmakers are standing by Vina.
    Sen. Miguel del Valle, D-Chicago, said Vina is one of just four
    Hispanic officials in the governor's Cabinet and keeping him in
    that post is "very important" to ensuring diversity in state
    government. He said criticism of Vina's role in the fire
    investigation was unfair.
    Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, called Vina "a fine
    individual" and said he hopes to work out the problems holding up
    his nomination.


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  2. #2
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    There WILL be pressure applied by Hispanic lawmakers. Their clout is getting stronger each election cycle. I still have some serious reservations about an ex firefighter who worked for DCFS of all places.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    I posted this in the other thread, but it bears repeating.

    Sen. Miguel del Valle, D-Chicago, said Vina is one of just four
    Hispanic officials in the governor's Cabinet and keeping him in
    that post is "very important" to ensuring diversity in state
    government.


    Bulls#!+. I am professionally and personally offended by that statement. I would rather have someone in that office who is QUALIFIED, and I donít give a damn about the race, origin, creed, religion, or sexual preference. Well, maybe sexual preference. (IíM KIDDING. THAT WAS A JOKE).

    Seriously, I really am disappointed in PiŮaís performance thus far. I understand that heís new to the position, and I donít expect him to set the world on fire with all sorts of new and brilliant ideas. But I do have a problem with him forcing out good people who were doing their jobs. One in particular, by the way, who is female.

    ...Hendon offered two other complaints. He questioned ViŮa's commitment to hiring women and minorities...
    Thereís a lot of women in the Personnel Standards Division....
    Thereís at least one female investigator.

    Oh, wait, Ernie Russell hired them. Nevermind.
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

  4. #4
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    I didn't write a letter to my senator about this buy before, but I sure will before January. I don't the idea of Vina hiring a "chief of staff" to do all his PR work and deal with us indirectly. He should be out stomping the state and introducing himself to every firefighter that wants to listen to him. Instead, he'll show up "if his schedule allows it". I wonder if he's living in Springfield or Chicago with our governor? We don't need this guy as state fire marshall. There's more qualified people available and we deserve better.I'm with Jay that it doesn't matter if its male, female, black, white, hispanic or polish - we need the best.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    So now I wonder who will make the appointments to the zero interest loan review committee, since under the rules, the authority rested with the SFM.
    I think what we all need to remember is that Vina has only been on board since June/July? I know that I played golf with Ernie Russell at the Moffitt outing and he was resigned to the idea that he was out, but I can't remember the exact date. I know it was warm and I was playing great!
    It is my intention to contact Moffitt and Risinger and find out as much as I can, push for the grants that are already sitting there frozen(Mr. Vina; you could help yourself here) and reserve judgment....at the moment.
    Let's put it this way: when Dick Jaehne was named IFSI Director, there was an immediate impact felt. He was out. He was at meetings. He was doing PowerPoint presentations and he has accomplished EVERYTHING that he said he would and more!
    I believe that there is a lesson there.
    Jack; I think John Kohlhepp is there more for his systems knowledge. John was great energy on the committee I serve on and is responsible for moving the process forward. Imagine it without him. And I would definitely be concerned if guys like Larry Smith wasn't there as we speak, keeping the wheels on the OSFM until this mess gets sorted out. I just hope in the meantime that good people like Juliann Heminghous aren't the casualties. There is value in what they do.
    We'll see, but this is most interesting.
    CR
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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