WADSWORTH: Ralph Copley, Wadsworth Fire Chief for 10 years, retired December 31, according to Safety Director Matt Hiscock.
Copley began his career with the fire department as a volunteer. He was available during the daytime as a volunteer because he worked at jobs in the city, he said.
He became the chief fire inspector with the department in 1989 and in 1992 advanced to become assistant chief. He became interim chief in 2002 upon the resignation of Chief Richard Hontert. In 2003, Copley was sworn in as chief.
Copley said he expects to travel, hunt and fish in his retirement years.
Hiscock told City Council's Safety Committee Monday Copley had been involved with the fire department for 30 years as an "outstanding member." Hiscock said Copley had served in "many capacities" during that time and even helped him when he became safety director. He thanked Copley for all his work in the fire and emergency medical services departments.
Police Chief Randy Reinke, Assistant Fire Chief Ron Likley and committee members John Sharkey and Tim Eberling also thanked Copley for his service.
Human Resources Director Jim Kovacs said the Chief's vacancy will be posted by January 30 and the test to help determine the next chief cannot be given for at least 30 days after that posting.
Kovacs did acknowledge the test will be given to those who are eligible within the department.
Hiscock said since Wadsworth is a statutory city, the city has to comply with the Ohio Revised Code and the city's civil service regulations in deciding the next chief.
The fire chief oversees both the fire and EMS departments.
According to the city's website, Wadsworth provides fire and emergency services to the city of Wadsworth and Wadsworth Township, which covers a 25 square mile area. Two stations house the fire and EMS equipment. Station #1 is in the downtown on Lyman Street and Station #2 is on Weatherstone Drive.
The two departments have 60 members, 15 of whom are full-time. Most of the fire department members are volunteers. The website lists full-time members as the chief, six fire inspectors and firefighter medics, one paramedic, a training officer, an emergency vehicle maintenance officer and a department administrative assistant.
Equipment for the departments includes three pumping engines, a 100-foot aerial platform truck, a 3,000-gallon tanker, a combination heavy rescue and hazardous material containment truck, a Hummer and four ambulances.
According to a report submitted to the Safety Committee, the fire department made 249 runs last year and 221 in 2011. The EMS responded to 1,859 calls last year, 1,747 in 2011 and 1,745 in 2010.
The fire department is funded through the city's general fund; the EMS by a levy, which was renewed by voters last year and by fees charged to those who use the service.