The board of trustees of the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District wasted little time in finding a replacement for Bruce Moritz, the district’s former chief who left to become the chief of the Lake Township Volunteer Fire Department.
The fire board, in a special meeting Aug. 26, accepted the resignation of Moritz and then appointed Dennis Hartman as the district’s chief.
Chief Hartman’s career as a firefighter began in 1981 with the former Allen Township Fire Department where he was named chief in 1990.
When the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District began operations in May 2001, Hartman was appointed its part-time deputy chief. Two years later, he was appointed full-time deputy chief and has held that post since.
Chief Hartman and his wife, Cindy, live in Williston and have two grown sons.
After an executive session Aug. 20, the Lake Township trustees announced they were offering the job to Moritz, pending his passing a background check and physical exam.
The trustees and command officers of the fire department interviewed six candidates. In all, there were 15 applicants, including some from Missouri, Nevada and Georgia.
The pay range for the township post is $55,000-$60,000. Details of a contract with Moritz are to be completed during the trustees’ first meeting in September, according to Melanie Bowen, a township trustee.
Moritz is expected to start work in Lake Township after Labor Day.
He has been a fixture in Ottawa County fire departments for decades, joining the former Clay - Genoa Volunteer Fire Department in the 1970s where he rose through the ranks. He’d been the chief of the Allen-Clay district since its inception.
Moritz said he already knows many of the Lake Township department personnel as the Allen-Clay department has an aid agreement with Lake Township.
He said he was ready for a “new challenge” in deciding to take the post.
The township interim chief, Mike Hornyak, informed the trustees he intends to step down due to time constraints related to his full-time job.