Paul Polep sworn in as permanent fire chief during first hybrid City Council

Then-deputy chief Paul Polep poses in full uniform for a portrait photo, in front of a blue background and an American flag.

Photo courtesy of the city of Evanston

Paul Polep, Evanston’s new fire chief. Polep took over as interim chief following the retirement of former fire chief Brian Scott.

Alex Harrison, Reporter

Paul Polep was sworn in as the permanent chief of Evanston Fire Department during Monday’s City Council meeting, concluding his three-month tenure as interim chief.

Polep was selected as interim chief in January, days before former Fire Chief Brian Scott retired. City Manager Erika Storlie announced Polep’s permanent appointment as chief on April 8 — along with the promotions of Kelley Gandurski to deputy city manager and Nicholas Cummings to corporation counsel.

“(Gandurski), (Cummings) and Chief Polep are experienced, proven leaders who share a steadfast commitment to public service,” Storlie wrote in the announcement. “Their leadership and expertise have been invaluable to our City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be just as critical as we begin to shift focus to our community’s recovery.”

Polep first joined EFD in 1996 as a captain and rose through the ranks to become deputy chief of operations in 2019. He earned an associate degree in applied fire science at McHenry County College and previously served as a lieutenant at the McHenry Township Fire Protection District. 

After being sworn in at Monday’s council meeting, he thanked city officials.

“I’m honored and humbled to be named the next Evanston fire chief,” Polep said. “I’d like to thank my friends and family for all their support. I’d like to thank my brothers and sisters at the Evanston Fire Department, and promise to give 100 percent so we all succeed as a department, and in doing so, providing the very best service possible to the residents of Evanston.”

Additionally, for the first time since the pandemic forced meetings online, the city tested a hybrid council format. City Clerk Devon Reid administered the oath of office to Polep from the council chamber at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, as cameras broadcasted the swearing in to the otherwise remote meeting. Reid said he was happy with the test’s success and looks forward to implementing a hybrid format more frequently in the future.

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Twitter: @alexhairysun

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