After 26 years of service, Capt. Rick Ronovsky will be sworn in as chief of the Hinsdale Fire Department on April 3 and replace current Chief Michael Kelly, who has held the role since 2008.
Ronovsky’s appointment was approved by the Village of Hinsdale Board of Trustees on March 20.
“[I am] honored and glad, obviously, that they picked me and trusted the future of the department with me,” Ronovsky said.
The 51-year-old father of two grown children lives with his wife in LaGrange Park. Ronovsky joined the Hinsdale department as a firefighter before becoming a firefighter-paramedic. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2003 and captain in 2008.
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Village President Tom Cauley, village manager Dave Cook, and village trustee J. Kimberley Angelo made up the team that interviewed five internal candidates for the chief position from mid-February to mid-March, according to a memo from Cook to the Board of Trustees.
“Based on the experience and qualifications of the candidates, Captain Rick Ronovsky … was the consensus recommendation of President Cauley, Trustee Angelo and I,” Cook’s memo reads.
Ronovsky said the Hinsdale department has plenty of young firefighters and it will be part of his job to develop them into leaders. Being a chief, he said, is an all-encompassing role and one different from that of a captain, who oversees day-to-day duties.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunities and the challenges that the position of chief brings,” Ronovsky said.
Kelly, who announced he was leaving for a deputy chief position in the Bartlett Fire District last winter after 24 years in Hinsdale, said he thought Ronovsky was a good choice because the village has spent money on training and educating the captain over the years.
Ronovsky’s promotion was part of “a natural progression,” Kelly said.
“He’s very good at managing an emergency scene,” the chief said of his successor. “His organization and his administrative skills will suit him well in this position.
“I think it’s great that they selected someone from within the department. That shows confidence that they think Rick will continue on the traditions of the department.”
Ronovsky said Kelly and the chiefs before him have laid a great foundation for the department.
“We just want to keep that moving forward and keep the department going in a good direction,” Ronovsky said.
The new chief will earn a yearly salary of $118,400, according to Cook’s memo.