Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mayor asks fire chief to step down Friday - Gary Post Tribune

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay will start searching for a new fire chief this week after asking Chief Jeff Ward to step down, Clay said Friday.
Clay did not give details about the move but said that Ward was amicable when told about the decision. "I just thought it was time to pass the baton to another firefighter," Clay said. "Otherwise we'll keep it in the personnel files."
The move came on the last day for 30 Gary firefighters, who had been scheduled to be laid off because of budget problems. Four other firefighters had already been laid off on Dec. 18. Clay said the timing had nothing to do with his decision to replace Ward.
"There really is no good time to say to department heads to pass the baton; it's not a good feeling," Clay said.
The search will start immediately this week and Clay said he plans on hiring a new fire chief from within the ranks soon. Until then, Deputy Chief Bonearl Black will serve as chief. Clay said that Black has already told him that he does not want to remain chief.
Ward served as chief since October 2006, shortly after Clay took over as mayor of Gary. The 41-year veteran will return to serving as division chief, the rank he held before being named chief.
Clay said that he is still looking at several options to try and bring back the laid-off firefighters, including a federal grant, and assured citizens that firefighters will still come when needed.
View the original article here

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