2011-12-17 / News

Yates resigns as fire chief

By Charles Prince

MILLERSPORT – Millersport Fire Department will have a new chief Jan. 1.

Fire Chief and Walnut Township Trustee-elect Bill Yates submitted his resignation effective Dec. 31 at Tuesday night’s village council meeting.

Yates wrote, “The community has now afforded me the opportunity to serve as a Walnut Township Trustee. I look forward to this new challenge and the opportunity to pay forward what this community has given to me. In order for me to avoid any possible conflict of interest I wish to resign my position with the Millersport Fire Department effective midnight December 31, 2011.”

His resignation was accepted unanimously. Mayor Dean Severance said Yates had recommended and he concurred that Battalion Chief Matt Bergum be named acting fire chief. Severance said a formal process including resumes and interviews will be set early next year to name the permanent chief. Village council members will have input into the decision, but Severance said he will make the final choice.

Yates joined the department in 1991 as a volunteer. He was first appointed acting chief in December 2001, replacing Tom Dempsey.

Bergum joined the department in the late 1980’s as an Explorer while in high school. Both he and Yates are paramedics. He is one of two battalion chiefs.

Bergum was given the oath of office Tuesday as was Jared James Eschbaugh who was promoted to fire lieutenant.

In other business, Police Chief John Shirk reported that the department has a new website at millersportpd.com. The site, under the “Important Notices” tab, posts security camera video where officers have been unable to identify the suspects. Residents are encouraged to check the site regularly to help police identify suspects caught locally on video.

Shirk reported that four officers are vying for the open supervisor’s post. An exam is part of the evaluation. He also asked council members to declare a list of unused, unusable or out-ofdate equipment surplus so it can be sold. The list includes a nearly parted-out 2005 Ford Crown Victoria cruiser, an impounded motorcycle whose owner is deceased, five tasers, VHS cruiser cameras and portable radios. Some items like the tasers can only be sold to other law enforcement agencies.

Shirk recently obtained a military 6x6 tanker with a 2,000 gallon water tank and high capacity pump for the fire department. It will be stationed at the Fairfield Beach Station. The tanker has about 9,000 miles on it and was used for forest fire fighting along the Ohio River. It will cost the village $18 for the title transfer. Shirk said it comes with up to a $4,500 match to repaint it and make any repairs or modifications. The federal government will match each dollar the village spends on it up to $4,500. The vehicle originally cost about $250,000.

Council members also unanimously approved the third reading of an ordinance accepting revisions to the federally determined flood plain. The changes, which will be effective Jan. 6, 2012, mean that no area within the village limits will be in the 100-year flood plain.

After considerable discussion, village officials are going to explore alternatives for the eight non-police department cell phones that are currently on the Verizon system. The police department will stay on the Nextel system due to its two-way radio capabilities.

Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10, in the village hall.

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