Venerable fire chief announces retirement; successor sought

Marquette Township Board

MARQUETTE — The search for a new fire chief in Marquette Township is heating up.

The Marquette Township Board received an update about recruitment efforts to replace Ron DeMarse, who currently fills two roles as the township fire chief and fire marshal. DeMarse is planning to retire on June 1.

The deadline to submit applications for the position is March 23, Marquette Township Manager Randy Girard said, and he has received one internal application for the position so far.

Township Supervisor Lyn Durant, who was excused from Tuesday’s meeting, had authorized Girard to begin the recruitment process for the position in February.

Pursuant to the Michigan Charter Township Act, Durant will ultimately appoint a new fire chief/fire marshal — a decision which would then be subject to board approval.

Girard said the Professional and Administrative Employees Association, which is the collective bargaining unit that the fire chief/fire marshal position falls under, has been notified of the planned retirement, posting and bidding provision, and commencement of external recruitment activity.

In addition, opportunity notices have been placed for publication with the International Association of Fire Chiefs-Great Lakes Division; the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs; Emergency Services Consulting International via LinkedIn; and an advertisement pending in The Mining Journal.

The starting salary for the position ranges from $59,202 to $65,585, per an employment posting provided to board members in the meeting packet.

Girard said he has begun constructing a recruitment matrix for Durant’s review that will be used to “neutrally evaluate candidates on specific criteria and experiences as referenced by the adopted formal job description and township expectations,” the letter states.

The matrix will “evaluate all the candidates numerically based upon the background experience that we are looking for,” Girard told the board Tuesday. “We will put them all into a rank order and we are going to set up an interview committee of three professionals in the fire service that will be participating in the interviews as well.”

The fire chief/fire marshal has multiple duties and is, in part, responsible for overseeing and coordinating the proper staffing, training, preparation and organization of the fire department as fire chief, and enforcing all state and local laws, codes and ordinances that impact fire safety, building construction and minimum housing requirements as fire marshal according to a job description provided to board members.

The person in that position will also be responsible for the fire department budget.

He or she will work under the direct supervision of the township manager.

DeMarse has held the position of fire chief for nearly three years, but has worked for the township in some capacity since December 1998 when he was employed as a fire inspector. He has been the township fire marshal since September 2000, according to his LinkedIn user profile.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is