Tim Romstadt on April 22 resigned his position as Northwood’s full-time fire chief.
Romstadt stated in his April 12 resignation letter to Mayor Mark Stoner that he is resigning “to pursue other career opportunities in the fire service.”
On the same date he tendered his resignation, Romstadt requested to be reassigned as the city’s deputy fire chief, effective April 22.
“As deputy fire chief, I shall ensure all ordering of supplies, training requirements, writing requisitions to pay necessary bills, monthly payroll and scheduling of personnel will continue. As well as attending emergency calls, and trainings as available. This would be at a rate of $18 an hour, while putting in approximately 20-30 hours per week. Upon the hiring of a new fire chief, I shall serve the department at whichever rank they so decide,” states the letter to City Administrator Dennis Recker.
Recker told The Press that Romstadt, whose annual salary as chief was approximately $66,000, was reassigned as deputy fire chief.
The city is now looking for a part-time chief to save money. Northwood is slowly recovering from a drop in revenue that sparked deep budget cuts in the last few years.
At a council meeting on April 14, Councilman Randy Kozina, chairman of the safety committee, said the part-time fire chief would work between 20-25 hours per week.
Council then approved the advertisement for a part-time fire chief.
Councilman Dave Gallaher asked why the full-time position was being cut to a part-time position.
Councilman Ed Schimmel, chairman of the safety committee, said the savings will help fund modifications to the current makeup of the fire department, as recommended by the fire chief and Recker.
Modifications include restoring the fire department’s Medic 800 first responder unit to 10 hours per day, five days per week. All additional hours would be covered by an increase in the pager rate from $2.75 per hour to $4 per hour. One firefighter who has the emergency vehicle with them 24-hours per day will be available by pager.
“There’s a cost, but also a savings from the fire chief going to part-time, so in the end, the cost is minimal,” said Schimmel.
“If this is in fact the recommendation of the fire chief and the administrator, I will accept that and support it, but not without reservations because we seem to have some real issues in the fire station,” said Gallaher.
“The basic budget of this entire operation will be approximately $90,000, offset by savings in other areas,” said Kozina.
The rate of pay for firefighters at the station who would respond to calls in the Medica 800 is $12 per hour, said Kozina.
“It would give us 24-hour coverage at least for one person to respond,” said Kozina.