Ypsilanti Fire Chief to retire and take post in Superior Twp.

December 15, 2006 by  
Filed under News

(December 15, 2006) Long time Ypsilanti Fire Chief James “Jim” Roberts will be retiring from the city of Ypsilanti Fire Department in January 2007. Chief Roberts began with the Ypsilanti fire department in 1969 as a fire fighter and has been with the city for 37 years.

It is expected that Chief Roberts will be confirmed as the new Fire Chief for Superior Township on Monday, December 18.

Chief Garvin Smith to retireWilliam “Bill” McFarlane, Superior Township Supervisor told YpsiNews.com the Superior Township administrative staff had unanimously recommended Chief Roberts to replace outgoing Fire Chief Garvin Smith. Smith is retiring after being a fire fighter for 50 years.

Roberts will begin work on February 1, said McFarlane. There would be an overlap of one month as Roberts transitions into the job. Outgoing Chief Smith will retire on March 1, 2007.

McFarlane had high praise for Roberts. “Chief Roberts is well respected in the county,” said McFarlane. “We had nine candidates interested in the position and from everyone we spoke with, we heard nothing but accolades for Chief Roberts.”

Superior Township has nine full time fire fighters. The chief and fire marshal are part time employees, each working 20 hours per week. Ypsilanti has 23 full time fire fighters plus a full time fire marshal and chief.

Roberts is the 10th department head at the City of Ypsilanti to retire or leave the city in the past 30 months. The planning director, the DDA director, the police chief, two HR directors, the DPW director, the City clerk, the assistant city manager, and several other key employees in the clerks office, DPW, police department, and assessors office have all recently left the city.

Ypsilanti is struggling with continued budget problems, the stalled Water Street project, continued problems at the Housing Commission, the threat of Visteon/ACH leaving in 2007, and an exodus of department managers and senior employees from the city.

The City of Ypsilanti’s solvency plan calls for cutting three fire fighter positions in 2008. Ypsilanti Council will be meeting on Saturday to begin work on the 2007-2008 budget.

Assistant City Manager Bob Bruner could be the 11th manager to leave Ypsilanti. Bruner is scheduled for a final interview on Saturday, December 16, with the City of Ferndale. Bruner is one of six candidates competing to be Ferndale’s next city manager. Ferndale is expected to make their announcement on a new city manager as early as Monday, December 18.

Superior Township Fire Department
City of Ypsilanti Fire Department


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