UPDATE Downs Fire – heating up!

A meeting has been posted for April 19th at 6:00.  Agenda says introducing new trustee and discuss going to a 5 member board.


By:  Diane Benjamin

This morning the County Board voted to re-appoint Mark Casada to the Fire Protection Board.  They also voted to put Jeff Clark on the Board even though no vacancies exist on the three-person board.  I’m pretty sure that Janice Bettisch will be notified that she is not on the Board any more.

Think John McIntyre isn’t stacking the deck for Mark Casada?  See this:

This isn’t the most troubling part!

The Fire Chief/Head EMT was fired in February after being put on paid leave.

Now see this email:

McIntyre is talking about the lawsuit filed by Manint.  Since the law says the Chief serves at the pleasure of the Board, the Board didn’t need a reason to fire him.  They had reasons, but the law doesn’t require any.  But note – McIntrye is scheming with Mark Casada to get Manint rehired by May.

Maybe somebody should explain a few things before rehiring anybody!

This document states the salary Michael Manint agreed to for 2017 – $54,000.

This is what he got paid:

Manint Payroll

The $7,534.31 represents a bonus – and he’s not the only one who got a bonus.  The wages agreement says nothing about getting a bonus and so far I’ve seen nothing in the minutes where bonuses for anybody were approved.




But there is more.  Michael’s wife Heather does the bookkeeping for the District.  In 2017 she was paid:

The budgets was $8,000.

The wages summary for the year as required by law incorrect:

Michael Manint’s salary was over $55,000 as shown above.

Manint Accounting and wages summary

The Downs Fire Protection District has numerous personnel problems. 

  • Board members shouldn’t have kids on the fire department and are therefore able to vote them into paid positions. 
  • The Fire Chief shouldn’t be married to the bookkeeper.  That is asking for trouble.

The next meeting is May 21st.

A new fire chief and assistant chief have not been appointed yet.  All three Board members were present for a meeting last night.  They did discuss going to a 5 member Board.

The law says appointments must be made by the second Monday in April – the County Board voted on over 20 today.  I don’t see how the actions of the County Board are legal, but somebody would have to file a court case so a judge can decide.

If citizens in this Fire Protection District expect somebody to show up when they dial 911 – attend the next meeting.

34 thoughts on “UPDATE Downs Fire – heating up!

  1. And I will say this again….there are MANY passionate and loyal firefighters in this department that WILL show up when 911 is dialed. Dont call out the whole department when you dont know them all personally….please.


  2. So there’s a misreport here… fix it… the $7,000 “bonus” you’re referring to is actually Mike Manint’s Chief Salary. So in reality, he actually made less than the $55,000 reported here. Also, why don’t you actually show the left end portion of the salary tracks of what Mike Manint makes? That would make this a less biased article.

    Also Janice Bettish approves the bills so wouldn’t that technically be her fault? Maybe let’s hold back on the assumptions of folks you’re trying to target here and get our facts straight


      1. The $7,000 “bonus” is the Chief Salary… that’s where you have this wrong.

        Also Janice approves each and every one when it goes to Direct Deposit.

        Can we also mention how the fact that Jeff Misch is still a Trustee even though there were sexual harassment claims??? I’m surprised he’s still a board member.


      2. The. $54,000. Is. His. EMT/EMS Coordinator. Salary. This allowed him to work shifts at the Department. Being the Fire Chief makes the $7,000 the outlier here.

        Also, you haven’t received it yet? You’re just a blogger. How do you have authority to “receive materials”? When has Word Press become a reliable source of News Information?


      3. So the document is a lie? There is no $7000 document! You obviously have no grip on the law. I can request anything i want just like every person can. I see now you think government should be allowed to operate in the dark. Hence the bonus.


      4. I never said the document was a lie. I’m just telling you what you’re misinterpreting. Look for a Chief “Salary” and come back to me when you figure that out cause you state that you can look anything up.
        Oh I know how the government works just fine. Don’t judge a book by its cover ma’am. I’m just informing you of things that you don’t cover that bias your written Blog Posts for your 238 followers to follow.

        Jeff wanted his son, Travis, to be appointed to a position on the department that he thought he would be suitable for the job. Mike Manint stated that he believed that Travis was not ready for the position yet. Jeff took it personally, targeting Mike, using Janice as an accomplice, along with her son being appointed, to get him fired based on that reason alone. Mike was placed on Administrative leave to make it look like he did something wrong when in reality, he did nothing wrong. When the time came to make a decision, they ultimately fired him 2-1 because of a personal grudge. If there were no wrongdoing, why fire him? He was unrightfully terminated thus allowing him to seek legal action if he planned on returning or not. Documents pertaining to the Chief’s Salary has no actual value to the actual case. If you want to report non-biased information, maybe stick to just what the actual case is about and not their salary.


      5. Everything you said might be try. Read the law though – the chief serves at the pleasure of the Board. 2-1 they said bye. I have nothing that says chief salary, I do have the salary Michael signed.


      6. Also, in the normal protocol of Quickbooks, an accounting workbook, it lists FireFighter/EMT Bonuses and cannot state an extra component stating “Chief Stipend“. Thus the “extra $7,000. Misinterpretation.


      7. Just like a teacher or a principal serves at the pleasure of a board. If wrongfully terminated, they can seek legal action. There’s a law outside of your supposed law which still allows him to do what he’s doing.

        First off… it’s there not their. And can’t you spell correctly?
        Secondly, in Quickbooks you can’t notate it in the same lump as the salary. Then you would have this situation that you’re trying to conjure up and make the Manint’s look like the bad guys even though they aren’t. If you understood Quickbooks in the slightest you wouldn’t be bringing this up. I say $7,000 without having to repeat myself and continually look it up. Also, look for the Chief contract while you have access to these documents. Oh. And STOP BLOGGING MISINFORMATION.


      8. How about you quit trying to state your own facts and wait for a court to rule. He was chief when the agreement for salary was signed. That agreement didn’t reflect anything but $54,000. Why was that?


      9. If you didn’t like “my facts” you wouldn’t have posted this. Besides it’s actually what’s going down right now. You don’t have the slightest clue of the actual stuff happening.

        Because that portion is the EMT/EMS Coordinator Salary.


    1. Janice signed the agreement on his salary after a 2-1 vote and the trustees at the time were mark, ed, and Janice so one of them was not for this decision and no matter which one it was Janice still had to be the one to sign the paper.


  3. #1. The document the chief signed states “any other task assigned by the Trustees”. As someone who serves in government. The $7,000 has to be included in that salary resolution in order for him to receive any additional pay bonuses or otherwise. Payment of more than the resolution amount is illegal PERIOD!
    #2. As a QuickBooks power user you are wrong! You add a bonus payroll item and use that when bonuses THAT ARE APPROVED BY THE TRUSTEES for employees who HAVE NOT SIGNED A SALARY RESOLUTION!

    I don’t live in downs but I do live in small town America. Make no mistake if this were happening in my community I would be in that boards face. I respect and appreciate 1st responders especially those who have the integrity to stand up and tell the truth and expose the issues that create an healthy and unsafe environment.


    1. #1 it doesn’t explicitly say “The Chiefs duties”. If you served in the Government then how did you miss that little notion.
      #2 how many steps did it take you become a Quickbooks power user?


  4. I love the local! You must be one of the accused that needs a lessen in morals and ethics. If that fits you, please do the taxpayers of your district a favor and resign.
    #1. Most salary resolutions do not state the duties because they are defined in either the bylaws or by state statue. I will say that it was nice to see the vacation Policy was clearly spelled out
    #2. Ahh the steps! Well 25+ years of running a business and making a payroll using QB and providing support services to others using QB gets me there.


    1. It’s cute that you think I’m one of the accused. But thankfully I have no connection to either side except being friends of both. Thanks for the accusation though!


  5. I have noticed when people attack someone personally it usually means they are out of reasonable arguments for their side. Usually a tactic of the left. Demean Diane calling this a little blog then nitpick her grammar. I’m sure if you donate she can hire an editor. I don’t have any facts of my own on this story but her reporting looks solid. Several stories on this issue should have those in the district worried. I don’t always agree with Diane’s point of view. I did not like her story on marijuana legalization but I debated by presenting relevant information. I appreciate her efforts on keeping government accountable to those that fund it. Sorry if this one hit close to home for some.


    1. I’m not out of reasonable arguments nor am I trying to attacking anyone. Doubting the article written thru a Blog Posting Website. But I understand where you’re coming from. I’m just trying to give viewpoints from another side that she keeps missing on. Just trying to help 🙂


  6. I love it! The local is conflicted. Glad I’m not your friend! The local says… “. But thankfully I have no connection to either side except being friends of both. ”. If you are friends with folks on both sides then you do have a connection. Face palm! My bet is that you are involved in this to some extent. You are probably one of the many plotter and schemers of the group that helps dig the hole deeper. I hope you don’t find yourself in the hole once the walls start caving in!


  7. The facts all seem to be present and irrefutable. It is grossly apparent that Trustee Casada and Chairman McIntyre formulated a plan to wrest majority control of the district’s board in an effort to further their own agenda. One question is, where is the McLean County Boards due diligence and investigation into these matters? Or was Mr. Casada’s and subsequently Mr. Manint’s words taken as pure gospel truth? The community this department serves needs to ask questions and become more informed. Yes, there are 2 sides to every story, but when one side is acting to satisfy a personal vendetta, in secret meetings and shady emails, it is not within the best interest of the district or the safety of the public. This has the potential for catastrophe!

    Myself personally knowing several of the department members, it is my understanding that Mr. Manint was not highly regarded for his abilities as a Chief or EMT; although Mr. Manint himself would tell you drastically different. It is one thing to pay a man what he is worth, but an exorbitant salary such as this, (as I am told) to just drive the ambulance, truly sickens me.

    This is a case of children not getting their way. And so, in return, they are throwing a tantrum in the form of lawsuits and underhanded political tactics.


  8. I understand that the sexual harassment claim was due to a white elephant game at a Christmas party. Several of the members of the Fire Dept, EMS and several guests were part of the game & were named in a CLAIM. Apparently some suggestive, funny white elephant gift or gifts were part of the game. As we all know that Game is not directed or brought for any one individual. I guess the person that chose a gift by chance did not think it was funny & is crying sexual harassment. Huh!


    1. Yeah, I doubt the gift was purchased with the sole intent to sexually harass the specific individual that received the gift and then made the claim.


  9. The chief salary is what is posted plus he gets overtime if extra shifts were worked and he got a $7000 bonus for being fire chief. He also didn’t have to earn vacation days. We all got 1 a year and he got 10 right off the bat. He also started off making more than anyone with zero experience in ems

    That is correct worked there for many years.


  10. All he did was drive the ambulance from what i hear. You would think with him being the ems chief he would be in back makeing sure the person was getting the best care and to make sure the EMT where doing there job right. Ooo that’s right he didn’t even know what to do that’s why he was always driving.


  11. I wish casada could be removed from board. As the evidence above proves he should not be allowed any input for any decision in regards to dcfpd. Also Manint is not qualified for his job. It takes a lot more than taking a big game to be a good leader and have great ems skills. He has never been in it for the love of ems. He was in it for the love of that paycheck. Bizarre that someone can start off making that much with no experience and has the least amount of experience in ems than his fellow full time emts but he started off almost $30,000 more than a new emt? And those vacation days right of the bat….. there is something seriously wrong with that picture! I mean people do this for the love of helping people once it becomes all about money it’s all over. I think it’s just very unfair someone with so little experience makes almost $30000 more than the base salary of a new emt at DCFPD. All the emts at downs started off slightly under $30000 if they make more it’s due to years they put in. What did manint do to deserve such a high pay? When did he get his emt license? Has he worked anywhere else in ems? How long was he using his emt skills at DCFPD before he was granted this pay and vacation days? Something is beyond off with this whole ordeal. And I’m happy the community is demanding answers. If this wasn’t brought to the attention of the community then the loyal members of that department would still be going unheard in order to get manint back on the department. I want to learn more about ed belcher and mark Casadas relationship before ed belcher resigned as trustee since in all fairness a lot of this took place before Jeff Misch was even a trustee and it was the ed and mark show.


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