Questions are swirling around Maywood Fire Capt. Denard Wade’s generous donation to state Sen. Kim Lightford (D-Dist. 4) last year.
Wade, who has served as fire captain since 1994, donated $9,740 to Lightford on Dec. 7, which some find questionable given he earns $93,215 per year.
Neither Lightford nor Wade responded to requests for comments.
Lightford has represented Illinois' Fourth District since 1998 and has run unopposed for the last 10 years.
This isn’t the first time Wade’s actions have raised eyebrows.
In 2014, he was involved in a controversy regarding Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh’s memo to firefighters telling them to remove all decals that depict the U.S. flag from their lockers.
During a Legal License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting in which union officials challenged the Village Board and Maywood Fire department officials who supported the chief’s stance, Wade defended the fire chief, saying Bronaugh issued the order to promote professionalism and facilitate upcoming renovations at the station. The fire captain also pointed out that only four firefighters had refused to comply with the order and had handled their grievance in an “inappropriate and embarrassing” manner.
Instead, Wade said, the firefighters should have followed the grievance process and given the chief the appropriate time to evaluate the situation and respond.
Wade said there had been ongoing issues regarding lockers and that there was nothing wrong with having disagreements, but that there was an appropriate way to disagree.
Wade also suggested that tension within the department stemmed from a deeper rivalry between firefighters living in or close to Maywood and those living farther away, and urged the board to find a way to resolve the issues and hire qualified people from “this community” to work in the department.