NEGLEY - A new chief has been selected to lead the Negley Volunteer Fire Department.
During the department's annual business meeting Jerry Hoon announced he would no longer serve as chief, and his first assistant chief was chosen for the job.
Hoon has served as chief since 2001, and he said in his letter to the department he is stepping down due to other obligations.
His first assistant chief, Gary Banicki, has been with the department since 1992. As chief he will lead a roster of roughly 25 active volunteer firefighters at the stations in Rogers and Negley.
Banicki said he doesn't anticipate any "drastic changes" to the department now that he's chief and that he will continue to actively seek grants for new EKG monitors.
The department is also looking for more people, he said.
"We're always looking for firemen and EMTs and association members to help with fund raisers," he said.
The volunteer department is privately run, although it does contract with Middleton Township for services.
Banicki will be assisted by Kurt Todd, who has held the second assistant chief position over the years, and captains Bev Shell and Rudy Sacchet.
He will serve as chief until the next election of officers at the end of 2013. At that time the department could chose to have him continue in the position or elect someone else. Hoon was re-elected to serve as chief every year since 2001, Banicki said.