The Bristol-Kendall Fire Protection District’s Board of Trustees will become an elected body.
Voters in the district overwhelmingly approved a referendum to elect the five-member board, according to unofficial ballot totals in the June 28 primary election.
With all 28 precincts in the district counted, there were 3,714 ballots cast in favor of the ballot question, with 979 voting no.
With 79% voting yes, the apparent result was a landslide in favor of an elected board.
Currently, members of the fire protection district board are appointed by the Kendall County Board chairman with the advice and consent of the County Board.
The ballot initiative comes in the wake of last October’s controversial decision by the fire district trustees to terminate a probationary firefighter-paramedic who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or undergo weekly testing for the virus, as required under an executive order from Gov. JB Pritzker.
At the time, Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder said that while the fire district trustees are appointed by the county, the fire district is an independent entity and there was nothing the County Board could do about the firing.
Local conservative political action committee Stamp Act PAC filed the referendum question. Yorkville resident Andy Shaw said the group secured the signatures of 3,168 voters to place the referendum question on the ballot.
Shaw spoke out in favor of firefighter-paramedic George Richter of Marseilles during the fire district board meeting which resulted in his termination by the board.
The trustees essentially said they had no choice but to follow the state guidelines and accept the advice of their legal counsel.
The board includes President Ken Johnson and trustees Jeff Farren, Marty Schwartz, Gary Schlapp and Phyllis Yabsley.
The Bristol Kendall-Fire Protection District covers the city of Yorkville and surrounding unincorporated areas. The district maintains three fire stations and is staffed by 24 full-time employees, 30 part-time individuals and nine contract paramedics.