HINCKLEY TWP. — The township is looking for new leaders for its safety forces.
Police Chief Tim Kalavsky is retiring at the end of the month and Fire Chief Mel Morgan resigned effective Feb. 28.
Morgan said his resignation, announced at Tuesday’s trustees meeting, was a difficult decision.
“It’s been a very emotional week,” he said. “I really loved serving that community.”
Morgan said every decision he made was how best to serve the community and keep firefighters safe.
“Our run volume is increasing,” he said Wednesday. “Last year, we went on just under 700 calls.”
Morgan said other township fire departments average about 100 calls.
He said the part-time Hinckley department also assists other communities, such as Brunswick, when needed.
Morgan said the increase in calls is disproportionate to the department’s size, especially with a 98-unit housing development in the works as well as a commercial development.
“There have been a lot of conversations,” he said. “But I felt the trustees and the fiscal officer didn’t share the same goals and direction (with me).”
Morgan was hired as chief in June 2016. He said he will be available by phone or in person to all members of the department to help in whatever way he can.
Morgan, a firefighter for 34 years, is a full-time captain with the Parma Fire Department.
Township Trustee Ray Shulte said the fire chief responsibilities will be divided among department members until a new chief is hired.
The salary is $35,000 a year for 25 hours a week or more depending on need.
The part-time, volunteer department has about 30 members.
Township Trustee Becky Chattin-Lutzko said in an email that she believes it was a combination of family concerns, time commitments and other personal reasons that led to Morgan’s decision.
“The Township appreciates, of course, that Chief Morgan must do what makes sense for his circumstances, and Hinckley thanks him for his service and wishes him only the best as he moves on,” she wrote.
Chattin-Lutzko said the township will hire a police chief first to replace Kalavsky, who earns $78,000 a year.
Applications must be received by noon Friday. The interview process is expected to be conducted March 17-22, with a final selection in April.
Fire inspector Joshua Erskine also put in his resignation last week but rescinded it. He said Wednesday he thought things over and decided to stay to help the department. He said he had another job but declined to say where of whether it was full time.
Chattin-Lutzko said Erskine’s initial decision to resign was independent of Morgan’s, and the township appreciates that he reconsidered.
She said the township plans to solicit resumes and hopes to find a replacement for Morgan in the next few months.
She said Hinckley has a strong group of capable, dedicated lieutenants and other veteran fire and emergency service personnel who have stepped up to fill the void.
“We have an open line of communication, and based on their experience and my meetings and conversations with them, I have every confidence that these officers and other department personnel will work hard to ensure a smooth transition and keep our community safe.”
Contact reporter Cindy Breda at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.