Monroe promotes assistant fire chief

Dave Leverage replaces Chief John Centers who retired after 33 years.

MONROE — City Manager Bill Brock said as “one chapter ends another begins.”

With those words, the city celebrated the 33-year career of Fire Chief John Centers, who retired, and the swearing in of his replacement, Dave Leverage, the assistant fire chief who has worked for the department since 2006.

Leverage was unanimously appointed by City Council during Tuesday night’s meeting, then sworn in by Law Director Philip Callahan. Leverage, 48, started as fire chief on Wednesday and will earn $125,000 annually.

Mayor Keith Funk presented Centers, 56, a proclamation for his years of service and “significant dedication” to Monroe’s residents.

Brock worked with Centers for 23 years and called him “my chief, my friend.”

Centers said he was “the luckiest guy in the world who lived out my dream” and he thanked his wife, Kristina, who was sitting in the audience, for her years of support and sacrifice.

Leverage was pinned by his wife, Ali, and presented his helmet by his one of his three sons, Nolan.

Centers said Leverage, the assistant fire chief since 2019, works well under pressure and is committed to the city and its fire department.

“You can’t ruffle his feathers with a brick,” Centers said.

Brock said Leverage was the obvious choice to be the next fire chief.

“We all know what to expect from Dave,” he said.

In other news, council approved a motion to authorize the spending of $38,050 to purchase 10 fire hydrants from Team EJP.

The hydrants will replace the 10 out of service hydrants within the system, said Public Works Director Gary Morton. He said those hydrants were installed between 1960-1979.

“That is great news,” Vice Mayor Christina McElfresh said when told the hydrants covered with black bags will be replaced.

Morton said nine of the hydrants are in stock, but it’s unclear when the other hydrant will be available.

Council also approved the city spending not more than $11,000 on Rozzi’s fireworks at the July 4 Light Up the Sky Festival at Community Park.

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