Harlem Twp. Division of Fire under new leadership
Harlem Twp. Division of Fire under new leadership

GALENA — The Harlem Township Board of Trustees has been active in the early months of 2023.

At the Organizational Meeting on Jan. 4th:

• David Jackson was named trustee chair; Jerry Paul was named vice chair; and Carl Richison was the past chair.

• Kyle Farris was appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals, replacing Raelene Meadows.

• Zoning, township facility, mileage and cemetery fees were set.

• Scott Schmidt was reappointed cemetery sexton.

• The equipment replacement schedule, and gravel and hauling services were approved.

• During the regular portion of the meeting, a power stair chair and other equipment were approved for purchase.

• Amanda Hughes was hired as zoning administrative assistant.

On Jan. 5, the trustees held a special meeting to hire a new fire chief for the Harlem Township Division of Fire. Frank Cook of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association and Genoa Township Fire Chief Joe Ponzi assisted the trustees in interviewing three candidates.

The last candidate, Thomas J. O’Brien, was offered the position as fire chief at a salary of $90,000 per year. O’Brien previously served as fire cheif for the Liberty Township Fire Department. Acting Fire Chief Michael W. McKeen was then named the assistant fire chief in a position created on Jan. 9.

At their regular meeting on Jan. 18, the trustees established a Fire Capital Projects Fund. “The purpose of the fund is to accumulate resources for acquisition, construction, or improvement of fixed assets,” said the meeting minutes. Also, the trustees approved the contingent hiring of three permanent part-time firefighters, as well as dissolving the captain position for the Division of Fire.

Also on Jan. 18, the trustees approved having the Harlem Township Grange Hall cleaned quarterly due to increased rentals, as well as rekeying its door locks. They also approved the purchase of a new John Deere Gator with a plow and plow box at $37,000. A 2000 Ford Medic was declared as surplus. “Offer to Delaware Area Career Center, Chief McKeen will receive training and use of their facility in exhange,” said the minutes.

Mike Cannon was appointed director of zoning and development at the Jan. 20 meeting at a salary of $65,000. The position was described as half zoning inspector duties and half development duties.

At the Feb. 15 meeting, the trustees:

• Approved farmers markets at the Community Park for five months during the summer.

• Heard “an update on the proposed restoration of the park restrooms,” the minutes said.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at the above email address.