New Saline Fire Chief To Be Hired Next Week
The Saline Fire Board is one meeting away from making an offer to one of two candidates to be its new fire chief.
“In 2021, and for the foreseeable future, the chief’s role is largely administrative. Our next chief should focus on operations, hiring, employee accountability, grants, technology, capital investment, budgets, fire investigations, strategic planning and ensuring that personnel are appropriately trained and equipped to meet the needs of Saline city residents,” Saline Mayor Brian Marl said.
While Marl added “no candidate is perfect,” the review board, and the consultant hired by the city, have narrowed that list down to two candidates, who were interviewed in turn during their April 7 meeting. The boards two choices to replace retiring Chief Hoeft will be either career Saline firefighter Lieutenant Brandon Sears, or Pittsfield Township Fire Marshal Jason Sperle.
Sears said that he plans on spending the rest of his life serving in the Saline fire department, whether he is hired by the board or not. “I would be honored to work for you for the rest of my career.”
Sperle also grew up in the area. He touted his extension education in public safety, homeland security and his certification in fire inspection.
The board members took turns to ask a set of pre-determined questions of the applicants, who received the same questions. When asked how he was working on improving himself, Sperle answered that he was working on his emotions.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve,” Sperle said. He went on to add that because “I don’t have a good poker face” he was very good at being open and honest with the community and board. “I’m not a very good politician.”
Both candidates promised to balance to small town feel of Saline while pursuing a balanced budget, progressive atmosphere and clear and open communication with the board, department and community. They also agreed that since Saline is going, a new fire substation will be necessary sometime within the next ten years.
Speaking of communication, the reason why the board decided not to vote was to allow the public to make comments on what they thought of Wednesday evening’s interviews, which can be viewed on the city of Saline’s Facebook page. The comment section is available on the city’s website, and according to Mayor Brian Marl, the contents of the comments will be kept confidential. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Thursday.
The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Saline Fire Hall, April 15. The meeting will be open to the public.
Headline image credit: SAFD