CHARLOTTE, Mich. — It has been more than two months since the Charlotte fire chief and all 23 volunteer firefighters resigned.
The volunteers returned to duty on April 4, the same day interim Fire Chief Mark Jordan was sworn in. Now, he says the situation has calmed and he would like to become the permanent chief.
“I think we've been making some good communication, progress, working between the volunteers and the city to keep the department work running smoothly,” Jordan said.
The volunteers originally resigned to make a statement and show their discontent with city leaders. Volunteer Ronald Smith said earlier this year that members of the City Council had been targeting the fire department and questioned their standard operating procedures.
Jordan said he is now working with the city and volunteers to outline new guidelines for how they interact with each other and has monthly meetings with the volunteers to “whether it be good or bad, still keep an open line of communication, and get feedback from both the city and the volunteers of how we need to do things moving forward.
The city and volunteers are on board with his approach.
“We've haven't had any new issues come up,” Smith said. “We're cautiously optimistic that things are going to keep moving in a good direction for us. We've got chief Jordan here, who's done a pretty good at bridging the gap between the city and the volunteers.”
City Manager Erin LaPere said Jordan has been doing a great job and that he has been working diligently with the members of the volunteer fire department.
Even though Jordan is the interim chief for now, he said he would like that to change.
“The job hasn't been posted yet,” Jordan said. “So, once they move forward, I do plan on applying for the position.”
LaPere said the fire chief position must be filled within 120 days. Former Fire Chief Robert Vogel resigned effective April 4. That would give the city of Charlotte until Aug. 2 to appoint a new permanent chief. She did not clarify whether the city planned to conduct a wider search or if they would appoint Jordan.
“The volunteers have written a letter of recommendation to the city management,” Smith said. The letter recommends that “Chief Jordan be primarily considered as the go-forward option as a permanent fire chief for the community because of the way he has come in and tried to help both sides and we've come to appreciate his presence here. We look forward to working with him in the future.”
Jordan said they will be holding the event “Touch a Truck” on June 16 in Charlotte. He said this will be a good chance for the community to connect with the city departments.
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