Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Mason fire chief quits after 5 years with city

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Fire Chief Billy Goldfeder, who played a key role in the formation of the Mason-Deerfield Joint Fire District and later the Mason Fire Department, resigned Tuesday.

        Mason City Manager Scot Lahrmer declined to explain the decision, other than to say “it's a personnel matter.”

        Mr. Lahrmer confirmed that city officials had hired a private firm to conduct an inquiry. “Several employees came to me and expressed some concern about certain types of conduct within the fire department,” Mr. Lahrmer said. “There was an inquiry, but no charges or penalties were filed against Chief Goldfeder.”

        Mr. Lahrmer said the investigation was ended once Chief Goldfeder submitted his resignation.

        The 45-year-old firefighter had worked with Mason for five years before his unexpected resignation. Chief Goldfeder's final day with the city will be Oct. 1, the second anniversary of Mason's new fire department.

        Chief Goldfeder said on Tuesday his decision to leave had little to do with the inquiry and a lot to do with exploring new opportunities.

        “I've been pondering this decision for well over a year,” said the chief.

        “And while I've really enjoyed the challenge of getting the new fire department up and running for the city, I'm ready for some new challenges. It's time to turn the keys of the fire engine over to another driver.”

        Chief Goldfeder said he began entertaining thoughts of leaving Mason after the joint fire district was dissolved on Sept. 30, 1998. Chief Goldfeder was hired in 1995 by Mason and Deerfield officials specifically to build and lead the joint district. Its break-up was something from which he never recovered, the chief said.

        “The loss of the district was very devastating to me,” he said. “I built that department from the ground up, and to have to do the same thing with another fire department five years later is not where I wanted to be at this point.”

        The chief said he has enjoyed his time as a public servant in Mason.

        He added he will leave his position with no regrets and a good working relationship with Mason City Council and Mr. Lahrmer.

        Chief Goldfeder; his wife of 20 years, Sheri; and three children, Amy, Danielle and Brian, moved to Mason in 1995 when he accepted the job as chief of the joint district. He began his career as a firefighter in 1973 with the Pennington, N.J., Rescue Co.

        Mr. Lahrmer said the city will immediately begin searching for a replacement.

        Mason Police Chief Ron Ferrell will serve as acting safety director and will advise the fire command staff, Mr. Lahrmer said. He added that Chief Goldfeder may remain with the city as a consultant after Oct. 1.

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