The embattled Salem Lakes Fire Department Inspector has resigned, KCE can confirm. Steven Ptaszynski’s resignation comes on the eve of a Village board meeting that will be discussing a personnel investigation into Ptaszynski and the fire Chief James Lejcar.
The Village Board voted to hire Attorney Jake Curtis of Attolles Law to investigate Village’s Fire Department, among other things. On tonight’s agenda, the board is expected to talk about the findings of the investigation.
The Village of Salem Lakes provided KCE with Ptaszynski’s letter of resignation early Monday evening. In the letter, Ptaszynski complained that recent complaints against him alleging corruption are unfounded, and he is upset that he has to pay for his own attorneys. The Village Board unanimously voted not to pay for his nor the Chief’s lawyers last month.
An an email, sent with his letter of resignation just before midnight on Sunday, some disturbing things were admitted to by the emballed Ptaszynski. For example, he told the Village he had “wiped” all public records from his cell phone. Any emails and text messages from that cell phone would be subject to disclosure under the Wisconsin Public Records Statute. It is unknown why he removed all of the data off of his department-issued phone, but it raised some eyebrows with some of the businesses that KCE spoke to Monday evening. “What was on that phone that he doesn’t want the public to see?” asked a Salem Lakes business owner. Ptaszynski’s wife, also apparently resigned and the two took with them their department-issued fire helmets. They left a check for $1,000 to cover the cost, according to the email.
Former Fire Inspector Ptaszynski and Chief Lejcar have been accused by countless businesses and residents of playing politics with their vast authority to shut down businesses that they don’t like. At least three businesses have paid tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees fighting the long arm of the Salem Lakes Fire Department.
Ptaszynski was quick to take jabs at the board on Facebook Sunday evening, encouraging people to come to tonight’s meeting to “tell the board not to play politics with your public safety.” Agreeing with Ptaszynski was another Lejcar loyalist named D.C. Schroeder, a Lieutenant with the fire department. The Fire Chief has been notably missing from several recent budget meetings and was unwilling to answer why he needed several hundred thousands of dollars extra in the budget. Lejcar and Ptaszynski believe that the board should vote for the large budget expenditure without knowing what the money is for.
As of February of 2023, Ptaszynski made $19.22 an hour a the rank of captain. His wife, Anne Ptaszynski, who also worked for the fire department, makes $22/hour as a part time. Fire Chief James Lejcar makes about $93k per year.