Township Seeking Candidates For Fire Chief
The new position is being created as a result of recommendations from an independent study.
Newtown Township is seeking candidates for a fire chief position that it hopes will unite its hybrid system of both paid staff and volunteer firefighters.
The new position is being created as a result of recommendations from an independent study. Last year, the township hired Matrix Consulting Group to review the function of its fire and emergency response services. As a result of the study, Matrix offered a series of recommendations.
One of those recommendations is to create a fire chief position to oversee operations at both the volunteer-based Newtown Fire Association, located in Newtown Borough, and the paid staff working at the Emergency Services Department in Newtown Township.
The study said since the two entities are under the command of separate leadership, a single chief is needed to unify them.
The Emergency Services Department has a fire marshal and eight full-time firefighters, who provide daytime coverage Monday through Friday. Volunteers at the Newtown Fire Association provide evening and weekend coverage. The Newtown Fire Association is under the command of an elected chief.
“The career staff has done and continues to do an excellent job in both regards but the two departments have grown apart in recent years. Unless this gap is narrowed soon and a respectful, strong mutually supportive relationship is developed, there will be significant areas of inefficiency but more importantly possibly severe consequences related to firefighter and public safety,” the Matrix report said.
“Assertive but sensitive leadership in this regard is paramount,” the report said. “We are strongly recommending the creation of one career fire chief to lead and manage this critical transition.”
The fire chief would report to the township manager, according to the job posting on the township’s website. Applications are being accepted through March 30.
According Mike Gallagher, chairman of the township’s Board of Supervisors, a salary for the position has yet to be determined. “We're still in the process of evaluating the option but wanted to see if there was interest in the position and what kind of qualifications we could bring on,” he said.