Downs Fire: More information

By:  Diane Benjamin

Below are awards given to members of the Downs Fire Department by fellow members.  They are mounted to the wall inside the station to the left.  These awards should prove that nepotism accusations aren’t true and any promotions have nothing to do with Travis Misch and John Bettisch being sons of Board members.  Travis was named Officer of the Year three times and Firefighter of the Year once.  John was EMT of the Year twice.  Both earned the respect of the people they serve with.  Board members do not vote.   Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.












Now see the letter sign by 10 of the 13 department employees (not in leadership) stating they don’t want the fired Fire Chief re-hired:





Back up almost a year.  Mark Casada and Ed Belcher controlled the Board.  Janice Bettisch was appointed when Chuck West quit.  When Belcher quit and Jeff Misch was appointed, Casada was suddenly outvoted.  Casada then complained to John McIntyre who failed to talk to all sides.

An attempt was made last fall to increase the Board size from 3-5.  It was purely to stop Bettisch and Misch from controlling the Board.

Another Firefighter, Jeff Clarkson, wrote a long email to McIntyre which cemented John’s opinion of Bettisch and Misch:  Clarkson email attachment

Contrary to Clarkson’s claims that everything was fine until Misch was appointed, the video of the last meeting proves it wasn’t.  (   The people doing the work felt their opinions were not being heard.

In December Mike Manint was put on paid administrative leave by Board vote with Bettisch and Misch voting against Casada.

Manint was fired in February.  See this email from Casada to McIntyre:

They didn’t make a hasty decision. The email also sounds like the sexual harassment claims were taken care of.

Shortly after, Casada started scheming with McIntyre to replace at least Bettisch on the Board.  McIntyre met with Misch and asked him to resign.  Misch refused.

Janice Bettisch did apply to be re-appointed to the Board.  She was evidently ignored.  Mark Casada suggested a handful of people, McIntyre chose one of them.

Nothing has been solved.  The lawsuit by Manint is still pending.  No permanent appointments have been made to Fire Chief or Assistant.  Head EMT is open too.

At the last meeting Mark Casada claimed McIntyre’s email about re-hiring Manint by May was taken out of context.  Below is the closet I have to context:


How this ends is anybody’s guess.

Stay tuned.






14 thoughts on “Downs Fire: More information

  1. Interesting that Manint was on those awards as well…numerous times. Anyone question why the only ones throwing a fit on the videos are friends and relatives of the Mischs and Bettischs? What is this an inbreeding fire department?


      1. That’s because he was named the chief after the awards he received… clearly a line of continuity there… that’s what changed. Also to the above and below person exchanging words. You all need to chill. Clearly both sides have a disagreement and one person is outnumbered in this but facts point that there was still no wrongdoing by Manint when he was terminated. I think what Ms Benjamin fails to point out is the outreach that Manint did with the community in the local area and in the state not to mention still doing his job as the chief. You can’t ignore the fact that he had no ill will towards the department, it’s people, or the community. Oh wait, he loves this community. Also interesting there hasn’t been mention about a certain someone who’s had multiple write-ups who technically should be fired from the department right now.


    1. Inbreeding?! What kind of IGNORANT comment is that? Please, fully educate yourself on what is taking place and who is speaking in the videos. Certainly, before you open that hole in your face to spew your filth and slander!

      Calm yourself snowflake, go find your safe place.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wtf does him being chief have to do with him not getting officer of the year?? His name is still on there to be voted for!!!! He didn’t earn the chief spot when Eric West quit ED just gave mike the job cause he was the only officer that was left at the time after most of them quit with Eric!!!! Mike got fired cause he sucked at his job and didn’t know what he was doing!!! And he was to busy working in Champaign get paid while also collecting $61k of tax’s payer money to do nothing


    1. That’s a pretty ignorant claim man… maybe you should breathe and stay off the blog for a bit before it comes back to bite you…


      1. Townie sounds like you need to get your facts straight and what does the truth hurts!! What’s going to come back to bite me?? I don’t work there but what if i did?? Going to kick me off a volunteer fire department??? Hey Diane good job on the findings of the awards on the wall that is very help info

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say the DCFPD Board of Trustees are doing what is right and not releasing any specifics why Michael Manint was fired. All the comments may all be true in regard to his firing but from what I understand the board of trustees have not released the specifics to the public. In my opinion everyone else involved has a right & have an obligation to comment & let all the people of the district be aware of things they have personally endured from Manint while he was Chief.

    It is funny to me that the rumors flying around have never been backed up as the official reasons why Manint was fired. I believe that the trustees are being respectful of the former chief. I know if I had been fired I would not want my dirty laundry being set free to the public.

    One last thought. It is sad that Manint, who “loves” this community & the people of the fire district has filed a lawsuit that will cost the people he “loves” (taxpayers) money. I believe the money he is seeking is for himself only!


  4. I literally laughed out loud at townie. What changed is manint probably worked hard or kissed butt or talked himself up (which he is very good at doing) in order to have a higher role a.k.a chief. Then he got greedy and lazier. He was very unfair and didn’t do his job. He was and is good talking himself up to the community but I asssure you he is not fit to have medical emergencies in his hands let alone lead people in the field when he has no knowledge of ems besides driving an ambulance let me remind you 60 plus thousand a year to do nothing but take credit for everyone else’s doings but bark orders and write people up for bogus things or because he is butt hurt over something. So much wrong that he has done!


  5. Still laughing at loud at the fact that townie says everyone is a bully

    So townie are you trying to say every one speaking out is a bully? for what reason? Because everyone is sick of being bullied by manint so people want change?


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