Statement from the Lyons Fire Protection District Board of Directors
Aug 4, 2020
Aug 4, 2020
To all members of and visitors to the Lyons Fire Protection District,
These past weeks have been a challenging time for all of us. Our fire chief of the past eleven years resigned after making a divisive comment on social media. Many in our community rightfully pointed this out, and we all have been working hard to figure out the best way to move forward. For the District’s Board of Directors, this has meant repeatedly asking ourselves a key question: “What is in the best interests of every member of and visitor to our district?”
As we search for the best answers, we continuously weigh two equally important goals: that we strive to be a team that treats everyone equitably, and that we ensure continuity of operations and maintain the highest standards of our ability to protect the lives and property of every person who lives in or visits our community during any time of need.
We have an incredibly talented team of paid and volunteer firefighters, officers, and staff. To best achieve our two goals at this time required that we appoint an interim fire chief who can lead our team while the board works on the process of hiring a new chief. We were fortunate to be able to name Steven Pischke our Interim Chief. Chief Pischke has more than 46 years of experience with fire prevention, firefighting, and rescue services, and has served honorably as our district’s fire marshal for the past four years. While he doesn’t reside in Lyons, he spends much of his time here and is very familiar with our district, many of us who live here, and the values we hold true as a community.
There has been an ongoing backlash due to the situation we are going through; unfortunately, it has now expanded to unfairly target Interim Chief Pischke. A comment he made on social media is being shared and misinterpreted as referencing protestors. Chief Pischke actually was criticizing a few people he felt were misusing this situation to sow further division. Chief Pischke has assured me that he absolutely supports the right for community members to protest peacefully. In fact, our team has been and will continue to be there for members of our community who are peacefully protesting. Presenting false information about our interim chief detracts from our effort to move our district forward in a way that supports our entire community.
We ask that our community recognizes and supports the hard work and dedication of the women and men on our team of firefighters as they put their lives on the line to keep us all safe. We also ask that our community gives us the time and space to conscientiously search for and hire a new chief. We welcome feedback from everyone in our community. The best way to do so is to share it with us directly via email. We read every email we receive, take your feedback carefully into consideration, and try to respond to everyone, as time permits.
Lyons Fire Protection District belongs to our entire community. We work hard to protect and serve every one of you, and we need the support of our community today more than we ever have. Please stand with us.
President, Lyons Fire Protection District Board of Directors
June 16, 2020
June 8, 2020
This evening, Chief J.J. Hoffman resigned his position with the Lyons Fire Protection District in response to remarks he made on social media. Chief Hoffman expressed to us that he felt it was in the best interests of the Lyons Fire Protection District for him to resign.
The board would like to thank Chief Hoffman for his service to the Lyons Fire Protection District and the Lyons community. We will begin a search for a new chief immediately, and we will provide additional updates to our community throughout that process.
June 1, 2020
This morning the Board held a special meeting to discuss the insensitive remark made by the Fire Chief on his personal Facebook page last week and to discuss this issue further with Chief Hoffman. Chief Hoffman made a mistake, but we believe he is sincere in his apology and that his comment was meant to display an intense frustration over the destruction of property, not the otherwise peaceful protests. We all must be more aware of our words and comments and their impact on others. The Board will issue a formal reprimand to Chief Hoffman and feels confident that no such similar conduct will arise in the future. We also will review our policies and make improvements to our processes and training. We remain confident in the Fire Chief and his abilities and believe he is an asset to the community that we all so dearly love.