July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Fire chief abruptly resigns

Lisa Hlavinka | The Gazette

WESTFIELD TWP. — Westfield Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Jack Snoddy resigned unexpectedly Friday.

Snoddy sent a handwritten, one-sentence resignation letter to township trustees Friday morning without an explanation for his departure.

Two 911 calls went unanswered in between trustees receiving the letter and a subsequent emergency meeting called Friday by trustees to accept the resignation, Trustee Tim Kratzer said Monday. The calls for mutual aid to Lodi were handled by Seville-Guilford and Lafayette fire departments, he said.

Kratzer voted against the resignation, and Trustees James Likley and Carolyn Sims voted to accept it.

Kratzer said he voted against accepting Snoddy’s resignation because the fire department put money into the chief’s training as a fire inspector and instructor.

“We let him go without even asking why,” Kratzer said.

Snoddy did not return phone messages seeking comment.

Likley and Sims subsequently voted to appoint Assistant Fire Chief Mike Carson as acting interim chief. Kratzer voted against Carson’s appointment.

Likley, who serves as a liaison between trustees and the Westfield Fire Committee, said the township will work with Westfield Center to determine whether to replace Snoddy with a full- or part-time chief, and whether the chief will come from outside the department or within.

“We’ll try to make that determination and start the process as soon as possible for continuity in the department and position,” he said.

For the past four months, trustees, Medina County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Thorne and the Westfield Fire Committee were finalizing a contract with Snoddy that would have expired on March 31, 2010, Likley said. An improvement and leadership plan that would require Snoddy to attend leadership training was being implemented in the final contract, the trustee said.

“Leadership training was established through the Fire Committee to better spell out Jack’s responsibilities and give him clear direction as to what the committee would like to see from the fire chief,” Likley said.

Snoddy earned about $50,000 a year as the department’s full-time chief, Likley said.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@ohio.net.