One order of business for the Lake Township trustees at their next meeting will be to set a pay rate for the acting fire chief.
Melanie Bowen, a trustee, said last week she was surprised by the resignation of Fire Chief Eric Larson but expected the board of trustees next month to establish a stipend for Todd Walters, the volunteer fire department’s deputy chief who was appointed acting chief.
Chief Larson informed the trustees in a letter dated Jan. 18 that he was accepting a position with Wood County Hospital.
His resignation as chief of the township’s volunteer fire department goes into effect Jan. 30.
“As you are aware, I have had a 14-year professional relationship with Wood County Hospital, five of which were as a part-time employee filling the position of E.M.S. Outreach Coordinator,” his letter says. “The hospital has modified my existing position to encompass areas of emergency preparedness and other miscellaneous duties along with what I was already doing.
“On Jan. 16…I was offered a full-time position by Wood County Hospital. The hospital has been an excellent employer and very supportive of all my endeavors throughout the years. The position offers many more opportunities, much better pay, and a very friendly work environment. For these reasons I have accepted the position of EMS Outreach Coordinator and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator…”
Chief Larson was hired by the trustees in July, 2006, replacing Mike Buzza, who resigned a month earlier.
Chief Larson was being paid an annual salary of $57,824 at the time of his resignation, according to Vicki Schwamberger, township fiscal officer.
“He’s done a lot and saved us a lot of money,” Ron Sims, a trustee, said of Chief Larson. “He had an opportunity to move up and we wish him the best.”
Earlier this year the department took delivery of a new ladder truck which was purchased with a grant of $475,000 through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters program.
In 2007, the fire department began developing a fire inspection and prevention bureau, a training bureau, and a maintenance program for equipment and trucks.
When he announced the formation of the bureaus, Chief Larson also said he was completing operating guidelines for the department and would conduct quarterly evaluations of officers.
At the start of last week’s meeting, the trustees met in executive session for about 35 minutes, citing personnel reasons but took no action when they reconvened the meeting.
Chief Larson’s letter was read by Ms. Bowen near the close of the meeting.
She said the board of trustees may consider various options for the vacated post, including let it again become a part-time position, which it was before Chief Larson was hired.
Trustee Richard Wellling said Mr. Walters has “been in the position before” and “…will do an excellent job” as acting chief.
In other business, the trustees approved the purchase of 350 tons of road salt for $25,100 from the Morton Salt Co. The price includes delivery.