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Kenosha County Eye

Embattled Salem Lakes Fire Inspector Resigns On Eve Of Personnel Investigation Report Release

Steve Ptaszynski, Former Salem Lakes Fire Inspector
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

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.

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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.

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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.

Fire Chief James Lejcar and Former Fire Inspector Steve Ptaszynski
(Photos by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

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.

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Salem Lakes Fire Lt. DC Schroeder

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.

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  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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17 Responses

  1. Know wonder it’s so hard to find people to run into burning buildings.
    40 Grand a year ? I hope the health insurance comes fully paid. Can’t live on 40K anymore

      1. You got me there ! Know vs No.
        But the point still is,
        Firefighters need to be paid more !
        But then again, maybe they no better ?

    1. He doesn’t run into burning buildings. He wouldn’t know what to do if he did. The pay is for him to simply do fire inspections. Just because he’s issued gear and wears a uniform doesn’t make him a firefighter. That would be like saying doofy was really a cop.

    1. I laughed looking at his resignation letter. He is complaining about the frivolous statutory complaints that hinder his ability to do his job and cost him legal fees.

      Now this little hitler can feel exactly what he inflicted on these three business owners. He cost them collectively hundreds of thousands.

      I’m glad these businesses have fought back and brought in the pit bull.

      I hope the Village can heal and the public servants can prioritize the people they serve rather than their own interests.

  2. Sadly, it’s not about what a person makes per hour. If Steve made 100k a year, that’s fine. Folks need to realize the Chief and inspector’s actions resulted in life-altering pain, unnecessarily. The FSCI report shows how ridiculous the approach was with the Chief and Fire Inspector, why? Clearly, there was animus toward certain business owners. There is a big difference between will and what the statute dictates. Maybe.? The next Chief and inspector will be a friend to the community and not the Safety Czar of nonsense, stay in your LANE! Today is Independence Day For Salem Lakes.

  3. Steve, We know that you read these and we all want you to know that you fucking suck!

    For anyone else reading this barrel chested slob tormented the firefighters in his short tenure there. If you would look up the definition of a back stabber it would be this clown. The guy ripped out the dishwasher and held it hostage until we would do his job for him. He took our napkins away and had us use microfiber towels instead. Oh and ‘Mr. Blocking the Villages life safety’ blah-blah-bullshit, YOU refused to buy things that would make an EMS professionals job easier to save someone’s life too. Countless times in fact. Not to mention you Anesthesiologist of a wife, that’s right folks-a doctor, would refuse to go on calls because she was too scared that she would get screwed for messing up on a call and lose her license to practice when she gets sued. At least she didn’t put on a fake front (most times) and could successfully place an IV.

    So don’t go preaching how great you are and how much other people need to be looked at when it comes to life saving initiatives, interventions, or purchases.

    Whichever one of us wrote the comment above about “Extreme Ownership” right-on. This guy bought dozens of books, “Extreme Ownership,” for us firefighters to read. This guy said it’s how he bases his life and how he conducts himself? What a fucking joke.

    You had this coming for all the people you’ve wronged, problems you’ve caused, and the good firefighters you and the other idiot chased out of this Department because they caught onto your shit and began bringing it to light.

    Take your GED, your lack of firefighting abilities, lack of leadership skills and go back to Minnesota and manage a fucking Wendy’s or something again dude.

    I hope this blows up bigger than it is and the only thing close to another fire job you get is dusting off the cobwebs from that BLACK helmet you’re going to hang on your wall and tell stolen valor stories about.


    1. I know for a fact they had Ipads on the job I was in many inspections with them and seen first hand how they treated people and what they were doing

  4. What a bunch of jerks. They should apply to the Village of Pleasant Prairie. They would fit right in.

  5. Both of these characters failed to think the citizens wouldn’t fight back, a miscalculation on their part. Don’t forget Murdock was part of this BS, he resigned early hoping he could avoid the fallout, Buzzer, nope. He shouldn’t have been paid a dime to leave, but at least he’s gone. Also, at least the Chief submitted a respectful resignation letter. Not a supporter just an observation.

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