With the swearing in of Phil Chiappetta as deputy chief and Tim Conrad as lieutenant at Monday’s Forest Park Village Council meeting, the village Fire Department’s leadership team has been restored to full strength.
The appointments of Chiappetta and Conrad conclude a series of moves triggered in June when Fire Chief Steve Glinke announced his retirement and Bob McDermott was promoted from deputy chief to replace him. Although he retired as fire chief, Glinke continues to serve the village as director of public health and safety.
The final move will be hiring a new firefighter, which McDermott said he hopes to do by early September.
Family, friends and co-workers of Chiappetta and Conrad packed the council chambers Monday, just as those of McDermott did when he was sworn in as fire chief in June.
Mayor Anthony Calderone, after administering the oaths of office to Chiappetta and Conrad, acknowledged the presence of nearly the entire Fire Department, asking jokingly if anybody was working and wondering what would happen if there were a fire. He also noted the presence of several retired Forest Park firefighters “who came from the bullpen,” which he termed a “great tribute” to Chiappetta and Conrad.
“Today both of you begin a new journey with new positions and new responsibilities,” Calderone said in congratulating the two. “Neither of you are strangers to the Forest Park Fire Department. However, after today you take on different roles.
“Speaking on behalf of all the elected officials, we have all the faith and confidence in both of you to continue to operate the Forest Park Fire Department to be the finest. There is no doubt in any of our minds that with your leadership skills, it’s going to continue that way.”
Chiappetta and Conrad both thanked family, friends and co-workers for their support and attendance at the meeting with the new lieutenant being more loquacious than the new deputy chief.
Conrad told of following in the footsteps of his father, a retired Brookfield firefighter, who lives in Florida but “attended” the meeting via cellphone. He also singled out Glinke and McDermott among others, admitting, “There are so many people I want to thank, I know I am going to forget some.”
Glinke was thanked for “being with me the whole way, teaching me” and McDermott for being “literally a mentor from the get-go.”
Chiappetta, on the other hand, said simply, “I don’t have much to say. I’ll do my best.”
Chiappetta and Conrad are longtime members of the fire department with Conrad serving for 25 years and Chiappetta for 15.
Chiappetta started in the fire service as a contract paramedic in Berwyn in 1995. He switched contracts and came to Forest Park in 1997. The first firefighter/paramedic Forest Park hired in 2001, he was promoted to lieutenant in 2010.
Conrad started his fire service career as a paid-on-call firefighter in La Grange in 1990 and joined Forest Park in 1991.
Chiappetta has served the Fire Department in various capacities, including training officer and union president. State Fire Marshal’s Office certificates he holds include fire officer I and II, advanced firefighter III, hazardous materials technician A, and rescue specialist-vertical I, confined space operations.
Conrad’s duties include public education coordinator, fire inspector, CPR instructor and union president. He also earned an associate’s degree from Triton College in River Grove in fire science technology. State Fire Marshal’s Office certificates he holds include fire officer I; advanced firefighter III; hazardous materials technician A; and vehicle and machinery operations.
“I’ve been trying for a little while and I finally made it,” Conrad said. “I love you all.”
Chiappetta will be paid $117,379.67 annually and Conrad $97,208.42.