HUNTLEY – Two former Huntley Fire Protection District members questioned former Fire Chief Ken Caudle’s spending on rehabbing surplus equipment the department received through the federal Law Enforcement Support Office program.
Fire Chief Scott Ravagnie said that while Caudle was chief, the department received a Humvee, golf cart, forklift, four-wheeler and vehicle lifts. After spending money outfitting the items and customizing them for the district, the items were turned back to the McCullom Lake Police Department.
Several local governments that received vehicles under previous McHenry County Sheriff’s administration through a military surplus program for law enforcement had to give the items back, according to a previous Northwest Herald article.
Ravagnie said he did not know how much money was invested in the equipment.
“Everything put into that, we’ve taken off and reused it for the new vehicles we’ve purchased, so it’s not like it’s wasted money, it was all reused from the light bars, lights, batteries from the golf cart, tires we put on the golf cart,” Ravagnie said.
Former Battalion Chief Russ Wilson said a lot of the equipment showed up at the district’s Annex Building.
“Our mechanic worked on it, guys drove thousands of miles away and were paid overtime and meals to get the equipment,” Wilson said.
The district paid for equipment to be painted, add emergency lighting, put radios in and add air conditioning to the Humvee, Wilson said.
Former Deputy Chief Keith Mallegni said the department shipped in large vehicle hoists from Hawaii and worked with mechanics to upgrade items.
“Just the vehicle jacks alone were close to $15,000, I think,” Wilson said. “We spent thousands and thousands – and as a taxpayer, that bothered me.”