2013-07-13 / News

Volunteers accept new chief

By Scott Rawdon

THORN TOWNSHIP – Thorn Township Fire Department volunteers voted 12 to 2, July 8 in favor of hiring Lt. Cheyenne Wells of the Jackson Township Division of Fire near Grove City as the department’s new part-time chief. Wells also worked part-time for the Hebron Fire Department. Hebron Council members accepted his immediate resignation at their June 26 meeting. Thorn Township Trustee Dale Factor said trustees were to meet with Wells during their Wednesday night meeting.

“He put his best foot forward,” said department captain Michael Tolliver, who added that Wells met with department personnel, who were impressed. “He was definitely the best fit for our department.” Tolliver said he hopes Wells can bring stability to the department. “We’ve been through a lot of chiefs,” he said.

Tolliver said the department’s emergency runs have steadily increased by 10 to 20 percent each year and department personnel believe that Wells is the best person to help the department adapt to the growth and, they hope, help the department to expand weekend coverage and better serve the community.

Tuesday, Factor seemed confident Wells would become the new chief. “I believe Cheyenne will be a great asset to Thorn Township,” he said. “He brings a lot of years of experience in the fire service with him and I’m truly looking forward to working with him. We will meet with Cheyenne Wednesday at our regular meeting where a start date should be established.”

A two-thirds majority vote of the Thorn Township department’s volunteers is required to approve a new chief. Some within the department, including former fire chief Duane Moore who is now volunteering, disagree with this selection method. He said previously that excluding the paid staff from voting and limiting voting to a specific meeting means a relatively small group will make the decision.

“The volunteers are the heart and soul of our department. We couldn’t function without them,” said Factor previously, who thought the volunteers should have a say in who the new chief will be. Factor said the paid staff is obviously very important, but they are receiving paychecks and normally paid employees of an organization aren’t able to choose their next boss.

Department volunteers previously rejected Heath Fire Chief Mark Huggins as fire chief by a vote of 10 to 2.

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