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Retired Huntley fire chief won't receive pension for 11 years

Ken Caudle retired Jan. 5 amid investigation

HUNTLEY – Former Huntley Fire Protection District Chief Ken Caudle’s retirement will leave him unable to collect a pension for 11 years.

Caudle, who was put on administrative leave in the summer, retired from the district Jan. 5.

The 49-year-old had 17 years and eight months of credible service with the district, Fire Chief Scott Ravagnie said. According to Illinois pension law, if a firefighter serves less than
20 years, he or she cannot receive a pension until age 60.

Ravagnie said Caudle will not receive any benefits from the district in retirement, and his retirement agreement did not include any financial aspects.

​Before he stepped down, Caudle’s new contract took effect in May and was set to run through April 2020, district documents show. When he resigned as chief and asked to return to the rank of battalion chief, he set a retirement date for Nov. 10, 2019, according to documents.

Former Fire Chief Jim Saletta, who now is a district trustee, previously said the board would vote on Caudle’s retirement contract at its meeting Tuesday. Saletta said he was misled, and the district will not vote on the contract. The district’s attorney said the board is not required to vote on retirements.

Caudle continued to get his $119,240 salary while on leave until he retired Jan. 5, Ravagnie said.

Caudle resigned as fire chief Aug. 15 and worked as battalion chief before being placed on paid administrative leave “pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation,” according to district documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Officials have not said what they were investigating. Ravagnie said the investigation into Caudle is complete and was done by the district’s attorneys.

When asked Thursday about why he retired, Caudle said, “It was time to retire, and there was no reason for it.”

Caudle said he does not plan on taking any other jobs right now, and he is “just enjoying retirement.”

The Northwest Herald submitted a Freedom of Information Act request Thursday seeking all documents regarding the investigation into Caudle.

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