By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MOUNT HEALTHY - Less than a week after the city's volunteer fire chief and a fire captain stepped down, citing safety worries over proposed job cuts, Safety-Service Director Jim Koshmider also has quit.
Koshmider said he resigned Friday afternoon after discussions last week with Mayor George Rouse, who took office in January.
"I think we both mutually agreed it would be best for them to take a new direction," Koshmider said Monday. He declined to comment further.
Koshmider, who left a similar position in Willard, Ohio, to become Mount Healthy's safety-service director, overseeing the city's daily operations, in June 2001, said his resignation is effective immediately.
"I didn't force him out," Rouse said Monday, adding, "I think very highly of Jim."
He also declined to discuss details.
The mayor said he had no timetable for appointing a replacement. "We have very competent department heads. We believe we can handle things," Rouse said.
Koshmider's resignation follows back-and-forth discussions among city officials over what to do about this year's tight budget.
The cash-strapped city has already cut a summer day camp program and this year's July Fourth fireworks, and recently laid off two Public Works employees.
On March 6, Fire Chief Tom Harris resigned, saying Koshmider, who oversaw the department, had informed him the day before of a proposed cut in the fire department.
The city was considering reducing a part-time firefighter's position to help keep the year-old pool open full-time, Harris said.
At last Tuesday's council meeting, city officials decided to keep the firefighter's position in the budget and look into other areas, such as parks spending, Rouse said.
Council is expected to vote on the budget at its meeting tonight at 7:30.
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