The new leader of the Greenwood Fire Department will be tasked with getting new equipment, planning for future growth and regularly meeting with his firefighters.
Darin Hoggatt, a 20-year veteran of the fire department who has most recently worked as assistant chief, has been named the new fire chief.
He was selected from a list of six firefighters who applied to lead the fire department after the mayor asked former chief James Sipes to step down after seven years as chief. Mayor Mark Myers has declined to discuss details of why he asked Sipes to step down, except to say the two had a difference of opinion in day-to-day operations of the fire department.
Myers and deputy mayor Terry McLaughlin selected Hoggatt after meeting with each of the six candidates.
Hoggatt has been involved in multiple areas of the fire department, including at the administrative level, and will be able to more easily transition into being chief, Myers said. Hoggatt previously has worked as a firefighter/paramedic, EMS lieutenant, EMS division chief and assistant fire chief.
“It will be easier for him to step into that chief’s role and just pick up and keep them going in the direction they are already going,” Myers said.
Hoggatt has been involved in training city employees in CPR and first aid, recently received a state lifesaving award for helping an accident victim in January and has also served on the state’s emergency medical services commission.
“Darin is a great guy; he is heavily involved in a lot of different things, and he has represented our department across the state,” Myers said.
As fire chief, Hoggatt will oversee the fire department’s staff of about 120 full-time and part-time firefighters, $5.3 million budget and four fire stations. The position has a salary of $77,787 per year.
In future years, the city is looking to grow the fire department, including adding another station that would serve the area around the new Worthsville Road interchange.
For now, Myers wants Hoggatt to focus on planning the department’s spending for 2017 and oversee the process of ordering new equipment, including a new rescue rig that will need to be designed to meet the fire department’s needs, Myers said.
He also wants Hoggatt to delegate the chief’s responsibilities to other leaders in the fire department, including lieutenants and captains, so they can be more involved in the administrative duties of the department, Myers said.
And, most importantly, he wants Hoggatt to spend more time in each fire station, meeting with firefighters to discuss their station’s needs and how the city can meet them, he said.
Myers wants the chief to have daily interaction with the firefighters, and Hoggatt will bring a different attitude to the chief’s position, he said.