Trustees bid Chief Altman farewell
- Published: August 18, 2023
At their Monday, Aug. 7, regular meeting, the Miami Township Board of Trustees marked the upcoming retirement of Miami Township Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Altman by passing a resolution to reclassify Altman’s status from full-time to volunteer, effective Saturday, Aug. 12.
The trustees voted 2–1 to pass the resolution, with Trustee Chris Mucher notably voting against the resolution — a gesture intended to communicate the bittersweet nature of the longtime fire chief’s retirement. Altman has served as fire chief for 29 years, and his retirement will be celebrated Friday, Aug. 11, 5–7 p.m., at the fire station; the public is invited to attend.
During the meeting, Mucher also read aloud a statement addressed to Altman, which Mucher requested be entered into the minutes of the meeting and preserved as public record.
“A week from today, the reality is that you will have left us, but the more important reality is the legacy that you will have left us,” Mucher read. “This is your building, your dream, for more years than I can remember. But your greatest legacy will be the Miami Township Fire-Rescue service of today. … Every brick, every staff person, paid or volunteer, are a result of your work. That’s your legacy, and we and the residents of Miami Township will never be able to thank you enough.”
Following the passage of the resolution, Altman thanked the trustees, and clarified the nature of his reclassification as a volunteer.
“I won’t be going on call — this is just to maintain affiliation for me for training requirements and to help out … with training [at MTFR] as requested,” he said.
Following an executive session, the trustees later voted to appoint current Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Powell to the position of interim fire chief, effective Friday, Aug. 11, beginning at 5 p.m.
BZA procedure update
Trustee Chair Marilan Moir gave a report on the board’s ongoing efforts to shore up procedures for the township’s Board of Zoning Appeals, or BZA. As the News reported last month, the changes to procedures were prompted in part by feedback from a local citizen and are set to include increased training for BZA members, more thorough record-keeping, the creation of BZA bylaws and the creation of a new BZA administrator position.
Moir displayed examples of updated applications for zoning variances, conditional-use approvals and administrative appeals — all situations that come under the adjudication of the BZA.
The updated applications will include a checklist of what is needed to complete a zoning request and guidelines for completing an applicant’s statement. Moir said the addition of these items is intended to streamline the process of communication between an applicant and the zoning inspector and BZA.
“Our procedure so far has been to say, ‘Well, send us a letter while you’re appealing. Well, we need more information — this is what you need to consider. Well, can you give me this information?’ There’s a lot of back and forth,” Moir said.
In addition, Moir said she is working toward making more information about the zoning process and application requirements accessible via the Township website.
“I want to get more clarity and more uniformity so that people know what to expect when they come to us,” she said.
The trustees agreed that they would hold off on approving a job description for a BZA administrator until the board’s next regular meeting.
Assistant Chief Powell reported that, since the last meeting of the board, MTFR has responded to 32 EMS calls and seven fire incidents.
Powell reported that representatives from the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association had made a visit to the fire station as part of an assessment of the fire station, which was contracted by the Township to coincide with Altman’s retirement. Powell stated that the results of the assessment are forthcoming, but that initial feedback during the visit was positive.
“We received some very positive statements in terms of our policies and procedures being very progressive,” he said.
Powell also said the station will soon transition to using a new scheduling software, which MTFR leadership hopes will improve scheduling and tracking employee benefit hours.
“This should make life so much easier for the next generation,” Altman said.
The next meeting of the Miami Township Board of Trustees will be Monday, Aug. 21, at 5 p.m., in the MTFR community meeting room.