Jeff Warren will step down Jan. 1 as chief of the Norwich Township Fire Department and return to the rank of battalion chief after opting to execute a reassignment clause written into his 2014 contract.

Warren said he wants to open the door for other talented command-level fire personnel to advance rather than risk talented individuals in Norwich Township taking jobs at other fire departments.

Furthermore, he said, he wants to return to a role that allows him on a regular basis to respond to emergency calls, work alongside other firefighters at scenes and interact with residents.

“Serving as the fire chief over the past several years has been a dream come true,” said Warren, 48.

Warren said he is comfortable with stepping down as chief because of the department’s leadership.

“Our agency is talent-rich at all levels, and the future of Norwich is bright,” he said. “I look forward to serving the department and community in my new capacity again.”

Warren was a battalion chief before he was named chief in 2014.

He became a Norwich Township firefighter in 1996 and was promoted to lieutenant in 2003, captain in 2009 and battalion chief in 2012.

The Norwich Township trustees accepted Warren’s reassignment request Sept. 1 as an administrative matter.

Trustee Chuck Buck said Warren's request was accepted "reluctantly," and he commended Warren for his service as chief.

A new chief is expected to be named by Dec. 1, Warren said.

Warren’s annual salary as chief is $125,182, he said.

According to the reassignment clause in Warren's contract, his salary will be renegotiated to an amount commensurate with experience and position.

A battalion chief’s annual salary is $115,847, Warren said.

The value of benefits for both positions is $12,548, according to fiscal officer Jamie Miles.