By Susan Tebben
The Austintown township trustees welcomed a new assistant fire chief to the force, promoted a police officer and discussed progress on township projects at their regular meeting Monday.
Assistant Fire Chief Robert A. Williams Jr. was sworn in to his new position with the fire department after going through an “extensive process” of testing and interviews to get the job, according to Fire Chief Andy Frost III.
“We always ask for input from the people in the department,” said township trustee Lisa Oles after Williams was sworn in. “Clearly, you have the respect of the department.”
Also sworn in at the meeting was Lt. William Hozell, who was promoted from sergeant status with the police department. Hozell has been with the department almost 21 years, he said.
“He’s been instrumental in instituting some of the programs we have at the department,” said Chief Bob Gavalier.
Township trustees made several announcements at the meeting, including showing their support for the negotiations going on at the Austintown school district. The district and the Austintown Education Association — the teachers union for the district — had a negotiation meeting Monday that was still going on as the trustee meeting was conducted. Teachers sat outside the board of education offices after school ended yesterday in support of the union.
Trustee Rick Stauffer brought up the negotiations and said he was hoping a resolution could be made so strikes would not occur.
“The most important thing in this picture is the children,” said fellow trustee Jim Davis. “I hope both sides ... see that with a clear mind.”
In other announcements from the meeting, Stauffer announced that a YMCA would be built in Austintown in association with Humility of Mary Health Partners. Discussions about location and funding for the facility still are being discussed, but Stauffer said he hoped a location would be decided later this year.
The dream of bringing fireworks back to the Fourth of July celebration in Austintown is a little closer, according to Davis, who announced a business within Austintown had committed $8,000 to the project, bringing the funding total to $9,000 of the $15,000 needed to bring the fireworks back.