Madison Township Interim Fire Chief Robert Bates has now been officially named chief.
Bates was sworn-in at the Jan. 16 Madison Township Board of Trustees meeting. He had been serving as interim chief since Chief Clifford Mason retired Nov. 30, 2012.
Bates has served Madison Township for 12 years, most recently as the assistant fire chief.
"This is the second department I've served; I began my career with Perry Township in Lake County," Bates said.
"There's a certain pride to being chosen for this position and some personal fulfillment in attaining this position and realizing some of my personal goals and ambitions," he said.
The promotion comes with a salary of $86,000.
Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst said Bates has developed his skills over the years through his work experience as well as through his recent completion of his master's degree from Gonzaga University.
"We've worked together for years and his leadership skills have grown so much over the years that we're sure he'll do a fine job," Brobst said.
Other township officials agreed.
"His promotion is exciting news and is a good move for the township," Trustee Victor Paini said. "He's done a nice job as the interim chief; this is a promotion he's definitely earned."
Trustee Gary McDonald said he appreciates Bates' communication style, both internally and in the community, saying, "he's very knowledgeable and resourceful."
Bates said a major priority for the coming year will be to set in place a five-year plan for the department that will then be updated on an ongoing basis.
"That five-year plan will guide us into the future and help identify ways to get everyone involved with specific areas they'll be responsible for to help us continually improve," Bates said.
Township Fiscal Officer Barbara Adams administered the oath of office to Bates, after which a crowd of about 50 people gave him a standing ovation.
Following Bates' swearing in, he then administered the oath of office to two new firefighters, Justin Vermillion and Dustin Probst.
Retiring Fire Capt. Matt Seipel and Police Officer James Galvin were also honored at the meeting.
Both were presented with retirement flags by Bates and Police Chief Greg Ryan.