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Posted on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Salem Township fire Chief Mark Hamilton fired

By Staff

The Salem Township board of trustees, in a split vote, fired longtime fire Chief Mark Hamilton Tuesday after citing weak management found by a recent study, the Observer & Eccentric reported.

Hamilton, who was with the department for 34 years, 20 as chief, was fired immediately but will retain pay until Feb. 29, the report said.

Multiple people spoke on Hamilton's behalf, but officials said his “leadership, oversight and management of the fire department has not been effective." Officials cited a study released in December that put fire response times in the township at an average of 14 minutes, the newspaper reported.

Read the full report.


Brien Witkowski

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Heyl said. "A 14 minute response time is unacceptable.". This has got to be one of the most ridiculous statements Heyl has ever made. At the December 14th, 2010 board meeting Heyl, Uherek, Wallazy, and VanFossen voted to park the three quick response vehicles that were assigned to Chief Hamilton and two fire fighters on the west side of the township. Placing these vehicles at fire fighters homes allowed them to go directly to a scene and not have to first drive to the station (on the east side of the township) and then respond to the emergency. Since the fire station is already over-capacity the motion stated " fire department vehicles #904, #906, #907 be parked outside of the employee entrance to the township hall office." So rather than have the vehicles ready to respond from a fire fighters home, they sat parked outside the township hall office. The run time data speaks for itself. In 2009 (before the Supervisor parked the quick response vehicles) the average response time for a medical emergency to Northville Crossings (the highest request for service area) was 9 minutes. That increased to 13 minutes for 2011, an increase of 44%. A motor vehicle accident that occurs around M-14 and Gotfredson had a response time of 7 minutes in 2009. That increased to 15 minutes in 2011, an increase of 114%. I have done the analysis for all runs over the last three years. I would be happy to share them by e-mail with anyone who requests them. How can Supervisor Heyl take away the three quick response vehicles and then chastise the Fire Chief for increased response times? I think this is a better example of inefficient management. Brien Witkowski Salem Township Trusteee. Proudly Serving Salem Residents Since 2000.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

Ron Mr. Hamilton is a full-time farmer. Being Salem's fire chief is not a full time position nor was it intended to be. Salem Township is a paid on call aka volunteer fire department NOT a full-time professional department. As Chief, Mr. Hamilton received a salary of approximately $20k last year plus an additional $10k for responding to calls. What sort of retirement were you envisioning? Were you thinking $80,000/year plus full benefits for him and his spouse including lifetime healthcare? Like other Salem employees, he was probably able to contribute to a defined benefit, deferred compensation, 401k or other sort of retirement savings program.

Ron Granger

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

After 34 years of serving the community as a firefighter, this man is terminated without warning.. For vague reasons. No chance to make changes. No opportunity to respond. No severance. No loyalty. Was he given a chance to retire? What impact will this have on his retirement? Was that part of the agenda - to fire him before he could retire? This does not seem to pass the "smell test". Thanks! Don't let the door knock you down on the way out!


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Smell test? Eau de barnyard