PERRYSBURG – A new fire chief was confirmed by city council and a recruiting company was hired in the search for a new city administrator.
William McCullough was confirmed as the new fire chief after council met with him during a committee of the whole session on Tuesday.
“I am humbled and honored to become the next Perrysburg Fire Chief,” McCullough said. “I am excited to serve the City of Perrysburg in this capacity and to support the men and women of the Fire Division who give so much to Perrysburg every day.”
His annual salary is $128,000.
“You’re going to be one of the highest paid officials that we have. So that pay is going to be reflective of what we expect as well,” Councilman Cory Kuhlman said. “I expect department heads, division heads, fire chiefs, to find ways to pay for their own salaries. There are opportunities out there, there are efficiencies and logistics you can implement.”
Councilmen Mark Weber and Tim McCarthy asked about McCullough’s opinions on community involvement and engagement.
“I think it’s very important for the fire chief to be involved in the community outside of emergency response,” McCullough said.
He has been involved with Rotary and hopes to do the same in Perrysburg, but also work with other civic groups.
Safety Director Patrick Jones was particularly interested in his work as a paramedic and EMS.
“I’m really excited to work with Bill. We have a very thorough process we went through,” Jones said. “Bill brings some really good things to the table with his prior experience.”
McCullough served as battalion chief and paramedic at the Jefferson Township Fire Department in Blacklick, Ohio. He was also a firefighter and paramedic for the Granville Township Fire Department and an EMS and fire instructor for the Ohio Fire Academy, as well as deputy fire chief for the Bath Township Fire Department.
“I think Bill has a lot of experience both on the operations side and the EMS side. As we’re moving forward we’re seeing a lot of EMS stuff. Bill has done a lot at Jefferson Township to kind of refocus on EMS calls that they were getting,” Jones said.
Jones said that EMS calls comprise almost 84% of the calls coming in for Perrysburg.
McCullough also has experience as a paramedic for the Toledo Hospital’s Promedica Air.
His experience as a battalion chief with Jefferson Township he managed 36 personnel. Perrysburg’s fire department has 31. His duties included operations management, which was a backup administrative position for the chief, which included work with the department budget.
McCullough will be sworn in by Mayor Tom Mackin on his first day of employment which will be on March 13. McCullough replaces former Fire Chief Rudy Ruiz, who retired in September.
The council also approved the hiring of the Baker Tilly US, LLP, executive recruitment services firm for the filling of the vacant city administrator position.
The cost is projected to be $27,950. The city budget initially called for $50,000 to cover the process, but the council dropped that to $35,000.
In a followup interview, Council President Jonathan Smith said that the extra funds in the budget are there in case the search has to be re-initiated, or any other unanticipated costs show up.
Mayor Tom Mackin had pushed for use of a recruitment firm, which the city had not been used in the past for hiring in that position. He used Jones and McCullough as successful examples for professional recruitment.
The top position in the city administration will have a pay scale in the $100,000 to $160,000 range.
Human Resources Director Kelly Chalfant said the city used the services of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association for McCullough and a similar process with the Ohio Chiefs of Police for Jones.
“They do all the advertising. They do all the pre-screening. They make recommendations for who should come to an assessment center, which is about four to five hour process where they have writing assignments, scenario based exercises,” Chalfant said.