Huntley Fire Protection District board talks behind closed doors

Former Fire Chief Ken Caudle announced early retirement before placed on leave, letter shows

By MEGAN JONES - mjones@shawmedia.com Published: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 12:01 a.m. CDT
Huntley Fire Protection District Acting Chief Scott Ravagnie (right) speaks with Deputy Chief Albert Schlick during a Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

HUNTLEY – The Huntley Fire Protection District’s acting fire chief remained tight-lipped on the status of former Fire Chief Ken Caudle after a closed session meeting Tuesday.

Trustees, along with acting Fire Chief Scott Ravagnie, Deputy Chief Albert Schlick and district lawyers, met for an hour in closed session to talk about the “appointment, employment, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees,” according to the meeting’s agenda. They did not take any action after the closed session.

Ravagnie said he was unable to comment on the status of the investigation, when the district will make a decision regarding Caudle’s employment and what was discussed during Tuesday’s meeting.

President Milford Brown and Trustees Fred Olson, James Saletta and John Davis attended the meeting.

Caudle has declined to comment about the investigation. Trustees have also declined to comment, citing a “personnel matter,” according to the initial release sent out regarding Caudle’s leave.

Caudle submitted a letter of resignation as chief to the Board of Trustees on Aug. 11, stating that after a long discussion with his family, he set a retirement date for Nov. 10, 2019. Caudle’s current contract expires April 30, 2020.

He returned to his last commissioned rank of battalion chief and was placed on paid administrative leave “pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation,” according to Huntley Fire Protection District documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Caudle’s contract stipulates giving the department two weeks’ notice, and he wrote that he was willing to stay on as chief until a replacement could be found.

“I assure you that my decision did not come lightly, especially since my tenure as Chief with the District has been both fulfilling and rewarding,” he wrote in the letter. “It has been my greatest honor to serve as Fire Chief to the community, the members and the Board.”

Officials have not said what they are investigating.

Caudle continues to receive a salary of $119,240 while on leave, Ravagnie has said.

Caudle has been with the district since 1998 and served as chief for five years.

The Huntley Police Department is not involved in any investigation regarding Caudle or the fire department, Huntley Deputy Police Chief Mike Klunk said Aug. 29.