Peru fire chief talks competitive pay for firefighters during committee

Peru department loses full timer to higher paying Ottawa department

Peru City Hall in Peru, Illinois

The Peru Fire Department lost a full-time firefighter to the Ottawa department, Peru Fire Chief Jeff King said during Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

King said he received a letter of resignation from the firefighter Monday and asked the council to place an item on the City Council agenda for Feb. 12.

“A lot of people are going to Ottawa,” he said during the Finance Committee, commenting during that meeting because the Public Services Committee did not have enough members for a quorum. “Ottawa’s hiring. He’s making $20,000 more than he was making here. There’s no way we’re going to hold that.”

Kings said the issue is something to take a look at down the road, so Peru doesn’t become a training ground for neighboring communities.

“(We’re) trying to be competitive with some of these other departments,” he said. “I don’t want to get them trained and they go to another department.”

He said some of the other departments such as Ottawa and Aurora are being “pretty aggressive right now” with their hiring practices.

“In Aurora, they’re coming in entry firefighter $73-74,000,” he said. “And in five years they’re tapped out at $108,000 with no residency.”

“That’s hard to compete with.”