Spring Grove Fire Protection District chief announces retirement

Search for replacement underway

Spring Grove Fire Protection District Chief Rich Tobiasz has announced retirement plans, and a hunt for his replacement is underway.

Tobiasz started his career in the fire service in 1974. He worked with the Fox Lake Fire Protection District for eight years before joining the Spring Grove district in 1982. He became chief in 1993.

Tobiasz has helped usher in a new era for the district. When he started, and until he took over as chief, the department was not staffed, and emergencies were handled on a volunteer, on-call basis. Firefighters were paid per call. Now the department staffs a five-person team 24/7.

“The time is right,” Tobiasz said of his retirement. “I have accomplished what [the board] asked me to do, and it’s time to turn it over to someone who can go even further.”

Tobiasz said he plans to stay in the area for now. He will continue to teach agriculture at McHenry County College and is a member of the McHenry County Master Gardeners, which is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension.

The fire district’s board has reviewed applications for the chief position, which comes with an annual salary range of $75,000 to $105,000. Tobiasz makes about $89,000, he said.

The candidates will go through an assessment process, and a panel of outside fire chiefs will recommend a few of those people to go through the formal interview process with the board, Tobiasz said.

The goal is to have a decision made by March, so Tobiasz can retire
April 30, which also is the end of the fiscal year, he said.

If all goes according to plan, the new chief would start May 1.