Niles Township takes steps to hire new fire chief

NILES TOWNSHIP – A new fire chief is on the horizon for the Niles Charter Township Fire Department. On Monday evening, the process moved closer to finalizing its search.

The Niles Charter Township Board of Trustees voted to offer Lt. Tim Jesswein the  Niles Charter Township Fire Department’s fire chief position.

While action was taken Monday, the process will continue for the fire chief position, as the offer contract has not been finalized. When the contract is completed, if Jesswein officially accepts the offer, the township will be able to announce a start date.

The township board of trustees interviewed Jesswein in a special meeting on Feb. 12. According to Jesswein’s resume, he is currently a fulltime firefighter and driver with the Niles Charter Township Fire Department, as well as part-time fire chief for the Township of Buchanan Fire Department. Jesswein has more than 33 years of “progressive experience” from firefighter to captain and fire chief.

Jesswein has been serving as the Niles Charter Township Fire Department’s interim fire chief since early January.

“We won’t actually have a starting date [yet] because there are two or three things that have to happen,” said Treasurer Jim Ringler.

The safety committee will continue to work on the language in Jesswein’s contract offer, including details such as benefits and retirement terms.

“He’s moving from under the union over to management,” Ringler said. “We want all of that spelled out in writing. We want to make sure he can look at it and read it and see all of the information so that he can accept it. My assumption is that he will accept it.”

According to Clerk Terry Eull, Jesswein’s salary would be around $71,000 per year.

Jesswein did not comment at the meeting, but attended virtually.

The board members voted unanimously to hire Jesswein. Members also voted to post the fulltime firefighting position that Jesswein would leave, if he accepts the role of fire chief, internally within the Niles Chart Township Fire Department.

Also Monday:

  • The board approved a gaming license for the Brandywine Graduation Project.
  • The board voted to continue keeping the township board building open to the public during its business hours until state mandates said otherwise.
  • The board voted to move its March Board of Review meeting for first taxpayer appeals to March 11. Members discussed the state requiring a Zoom meeting organization of the meetings.

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