By Kristin Rover
Miami Township officials have decided on a new fire chief to replace former chief Jim Whitworth, who retired in August.
According to Miami Township Administrator Larry Fronk, trustees voted Sept. 26 to extend a conditional offer of employment to Steve Kelly with a final offer contingent upon a successful background check and clean drug test.
Fronk said they had 35 candidates originally and narrowed the field down to six in September.
“Miami Township began the selection process in August and received 35 applications for the position of fire chief,” Fronk said.
Fronk said they were looking for someone who had already demonstrated leadership skills.
Miami Township Trustee Mary Wolff said it was a difficult task to narrow down the applicants.
“There were many qualified applicants, but Mr. Kelly stood out as the best fit for Miami Township,” Wolff said. “We are excited about the vision he has for leading the department.”
Fronk said Kelly brings 17 years of experience with the West Chester Fire Department where he currently serves as captain of the emergency medical services division.
Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in fire safety engineering technology as well as a master’s degree in public administration.
“Mr. Kelly has the breadth of experience, the education and skill set Miami Township is looking for in a new fire chief,” Trustee Karl Schultz said.
Fronk said the new chief will be replacing Jim Whitworth, who retired in August.
“Jim was Miami Township’s first fire chief,” Fronk said. “He came when the township was combining small private fire departments. He led the effort to merge smaller departments into one.”
Fronk said Whitworth was chief for 21 years before he retired.
Fronk said if the conditions of employment are met, trustees will formally vote to hire Kelly during their Oct. 7 meeting.