City of Sycamore to begin search for next fire chief

Sycamore Fire Department headquarters sign Sycamore, IL on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

SYCAMORE – The city of Sycamore is set to begin the process for its next fire chief.

The Sycamore City Council gave a nod to city staff this week to hire recruitment consultant GovHR for $23,500, to help lead the search for the Sycamore Fire Department’s next fire chief.

Fire Chief Pete Polarek – who’s been with the department for more than a decade and served 28 years prior with the DeKalb Fire Department – didn’t say during Monday’s City Council meeting whether he’s identified a retirement date, although Sycamore aldermen opted unanimously to move forward with a recruitment and selection process.

“This process takes a long time, we are talking five to six months,” Sycamore City Manager Michael Hall said. “We thought we would kind of get started on it and have GovHR help us in this manner because it’s a very important position.”

According to city documents, the recruitment contract will be in effect for six months.

When asked about a potential retirement window, Polarek said no date or announcement has been made, but echoed Hall’s comments that a recruitment process for the city’s top fire official takes time.

GovHR is headquartered in Northbrook and is a public management consulting firm that serves municipal government clients and other public-sector entities across the country.

Hall said the GovHR representative working with Sycamore is a retired fire Illinois fire chief.

According to recruitment methods outlined in city documents, GovHR officials said a typical recruitment and selection process can take about 175 hours, and includes advertisement placement, reference interviews and processing candidates.

“They look at top candidates, they do presentations of all the candidates, they do interviews, full background screenings,” Hall said. “They help out with everything, they have a really good system, they are in multiple states.”

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