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Report says C’ville fire chief put on administrative leave

Carpentersville Fire Chief  John Schuldt  retired Friday after being placed administrative leave late January. Sun-Times Medifile photo

Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt retired Friday after being placed on administrative leave in late January. Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: March 2, 2013 12:06PM

CARPENTERSVILLE — Village Fire Chief John Schuldt has been put on administrative leave, according to a Chicago radio report.

WBBM News Radio reported Thursday morning that Schuldt had been put on leave and that Village Manager Mark Rooney would not comment as to why the move had been made.

Village President Ed Ritter told The Courier-News Thursday morning that he had received several calls about the report but he could neither confirm nor deny it. He referred calls to Rooney’s office. Rooney was not available for comment, and his office also would neither confirm nor deny the reports.

Schuldt was not in his office Thursday morning and could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association named Schuldt, 52, the Illinois Fire Chief of the Year for 2011 from among departments with a population of more than 25,000.

Schuldt was nominated for the award by Assistant Fire Chief John Skillman. At the time, Skillman told The Courier-News that Schuldt had been with the department for 34 years, including 31 in a full-time role. Schuldt was named chief in 1996 and has served with fire safety organizations on the state and even the national level, Skillman said.

Skillman noted in his nomination that “in May 2001, Chief Schuldt was asked by his village board to serve as acting village manager. He faced several key village staff positions that were vacant and the need to develop a village budget, at the time $40 million. He was responsible for a staff of 300 people during his 12 months as acting manager until his return to fire chief in May 2002. He was asked to stay in the position, but his love for the fire service returned him to his chief’s position.”

In the community, Skillman noted, Schuldt was on the founding board of the local Boys & Girls Club in the 1990s. Schuldt served on a 2010 committee that brought the Healing Field to Carpentersville to honor war heroes. Since 1998, he has participated in a community-wide paint-a-thon in which volunteers paint homes of those unable to do so. He helped coordinate area fire departments’ sending of help to victims of the 2004 Utica tornado and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In 2010, when a local family was left homeless by a fire, Schuldt worked first to solicit donations of furniture and clothing the family needed and then worked with the owner of a storage facility to create a permanent cache of such items for future fire victims.

Schuldt helped bring “Remembering When,” a fire- and fall-prevention program for older adults, to Carpentersville as a pilot project and was instrumental in setting up a division technical rescue team for the area.

Staff writer Emily McFarlan Miller contributed to this report.

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