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Charlotte’s volunteer firefighters back on duty; new fire chief sworn in

Posted at 9:53 AM, Apr 05, 2022

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Charlotte’s 23 volunteer firefighters are back on the job.

The firefighters, who resigned as a group two weeks ago, made a statement at Charlotte’s City Council meeting on Monday, saying they hoped the city would acknowledge their concerns or include a third-party investigator.

Instead, the city said the volunteers would need to reapply. The volunteers did not see any reason to.

After over two hours of discussions about the rehiring process and the rules in the city charter, the city swore in Fire Chief Mark Jordan as the interim fire chief of the department, saying it would allow the department to keep all 23 volunteer firefighters without additional applications.

Mayor Michael Armitage apologized for times that the volunteers felt he was overstepping his boundaries. City Manager Erin LaPere apologized over 90 minutes into the meeting saying that she is sorry for the delay in reacting to the meeting the volunteers had requested before it came to the public “resignation.”

“I’m looking forward to starting this new journey and hopefully make some changes to an already good department," said Chief Jordan.

After a short recess and a special meeting of all volunteers, Volunteer Firefighter Ronald Smith announced that they will start responding to calls effective immediately.

The residents of Charlotte are relieved. “I mean this is a great thing for the city,” said resident Rob Williams. "Obviously, we are all going to feel safe again, they can go back to doing what they love, and hopefully our city can continue to mend itself between the council, the fire department, and the citizens. This is a great day.”

Jordan is certain that conversations with the city will continue to work on the previously presented issues further.

“I’m very firm on using a chain of command, so I am very firm on everyone following this chain from the top down,” Jordan said. “All communication for the department will go through me.”

The volunteer firefighters were happy they can return to duty but are still hoping for conversations to continue.

“I feel good moving forward because we wanted this weeks ago,” said Volunteer Firefighter Tina Curtis, the only female volunteer firefighter of the department. “I think we have kind of gotten there tonight. We got the communication to open and made steps forward.”

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Travis Hicks

3:45 PM, May 23, 2022

Charlotte & Eaton Rapids

Neighborhood Reporter

Travis Hicks

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter