TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Township Board reluctantly accepted the resignation of Fire Chief John Bofia, effective April 1, at its regular meeting last week.
The popular chief has been in office since 1999 and before that was the Temperance chief for three years. He is the first township chief, taking the position when it was formed by the consolidation of the chief’s offices in Lambertville and Temperance.
Chief Bofia, who is 63, said he plans to retire. “I want a change,” he said.
He is part of a family tradition in Bedford Township firefighting.
His father, Leo, was Temperance chief, and his cousin Rick was a firefighter. Supervisor Greg Stewart noted that the three of them have served the township for more than 100 years. The supervisor said a committee would be formed to search for a new chief.
The chief and his fire inspector, Ron Whipple, are the department’s only full-time employees. The 54 firefighters are volunteers. Last year, they responded to 2,400 calls, and about 80 percent of them were medical runs, the chief said.
Mr. Stewart said he accepted the resignation with genuine regret.
In other action, the board approved raising the limits employees can contribute to their 401(a) pension plan. Contributions to the plan, which receives no township match, have been limited to 10 percent of a worker’s annual salary. That will rise to 80 percent, but the plan’s administrator will ensure Internal Revenue Service dollar limitations are not violated.
Trustee Nancy Tienvieri suggested that the local Bedford station on Buckeye CableSystem involve Bedford High School students who are interested in television production.
Other board members expressed no interest in following up on her proposal. Trustee Larry O’Dell noted that years ago, the board paid $80,000 to the school district to withdraw from an arrangement similar to that described by Ms. Tienvieri. Treasurer Paul Francis said school officials had not expressed any interest to the township board, and he said he was not ready to make a commitment.
Mr. Stewart said that any agreement with the school district should benefit both sides and he saw no reason for action on the proposal. He said the township had switched to a professional videographer from students because of inconsistent service in covering late meetings.
“Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone wants to go back to that,” the supervisor said.
In other action, the board approved the sale of a fire department 1999 Freightliner pumper to the Richfield Township Fire Department for $55,000.
It deferred action on a contract with the Monroe County Road Commission for the removal of a tree on Smith Road just west of Lewis Avenue. According to the road commission, roots are causing drainage problems; under the contract, the $1,200 cost of removing the tree, which is in the road commission’s right-of-way, would be shared evenly by both parties.
The board decided to hold off on considering the contract until it received an engineering report on the need for the tree removal. Township Clerk Trudy Hershberger expressed concern that agreeing to share the cost could establish a bad precedent.