Liberty Twp. trustees will get help to find new fire chief

A crew with Liberty Township Fire Department responds to a call Nov. 30 from their Yankee Road Station, the oldest of their three buildings. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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A crew with Liberty Township Fire Department responds to a call Nov. 30 from their Yankee Road Station, the oldest of their three buildings. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The Liberty Twp. trustees plan to hire the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association to help them find a new fire chief to replace retiring Chief Paul Stumpf.

Stumpf announced his retirement in September and gave the township a year to find someone new. Stumpf has worked for the Liberty Twp. fire department for 45 years and has served as fire chief since 1985. He spent nine years at the helm of the volunteer department until 1994 when the department shifted from a volunteer department to a full-time fire department.

The township was expected to vote Tuesday to pay the OFCA $12,150 for a process that will include crafting a job description — township officials and stakeholders in the community will have input — posting the job opening on the association’s website and on two statewide e-mail distributions, testing and other activities related to the selection process.

Trustee board President Tom Farrell said in talking with other governmental entities the chief’s association has an excellent track record. He said it takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days to settle on a new hire, but he is hoping they can have the new chief on board within two months.

The trustees have said they would like the new chief to have a couple months with Stumpf, and Farrell says he wants the new chief to also be part of fire levy discussion.

“Depending on how long it takes to get the new chief then a decision will be made, whether it be May or November or 2018 …” Farrell said. “I would like to make sure that the new management of the fire department has input on it, and if that means waiting then my recommendation would be to wait.”

If the growing Butler County township remains status quo, the fire and EMS fund balance, estimated to be $1.1 million to start next year, will evaporate and put the fund into the negative to the tune of $233,439 by the start of 2018. The township will have a $750,000 deficit in the fire and EMS budget for next year.

His fellow trustees have told the Journal-News they don't believe they can wait that long to start the fire levy discussions.

“I don’t know that we can afford to wait that long,” Trustee Steve Schramm told the Journal-News previously. “To my knowledge our chief isn’t planned to be in place until June or July, to give them a little bit of overlap (with the current fire chief )… I don’t know that we can wait that long to pull the trigger on the levy to get it on the November ballot.”

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