Liberty Twp. has a new fire chief after Ethan Klussman was officially sworn in last Tuesday. Klussman is the growing township’s first new fire chief in decades, replacing Paul Stumpf, who retired after 45 years with the township.
Here are 5 things to know about the new fire chief:
1. A commitment to customer service
“I’m really passionate about what I do and I do this for the community more than myself,” Klussman said. “I like giving back and this is one way I get to ensure that what I do makes a difference, not just in my life but in those that work for me and those that we protect.”
2. No immediate changes planned
Klussman said it is going to be hard to fill Stumpf’s shoes and he doesn’t have any thoughts in mind to make any big changes right off the bat.
“For 32 years he was the chief and they really have a method and a system in place and it’s not my desire or objective to disrupt that,” Klussman said. “But it is my duty to make sure we’re going things as efficiently and effectively as possible. And that’s really my goal to evaluate that in my first 30 to 60 days.”
3. Upcoming fire levy could change the department
Fast-growing Liberty Twp. will ask its taxpayers in November to pay more for fire and emergency services with a 3.5-mill continuous levy.
If voters agree, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $122 more annually — or a total of $300 when two existing levies are included.
MORE: Liberty Twp. puts 3.5-mill safety levy on ballot
The township’s population has doubled in size to 40,000 over the past two decades.
4. His original career plan included police work
Klussman’s last duty was as a battalion chief in Kettering. He got his start in fire service when he was a freshman at the University of Cincinnati — studying criminal justice — in 1991 and was working part-time with Mason fire department. His career goals changed.
“I realized the fire service was a way better avenue,” Klussman said. “You get to go help people and they really want you there. I’m a people person by nature, so it was like well if people want me there then this is what I really want to do.”
5. He’s a college soccer referee
Klussman and his family, wife Janie, 20-year-old son Caleb and Anna who is 18, currently live in Lebanon.
In his spare time, Klussman referees college soccer.