By David Fleet
Atlas Twp.-On Tuesday night the township board of trustees voted 5-0 at a special meeting to appoint Steve Bullen as township fire chief.
The position was vacated this past summer by Fred Forys who served as chief since 2006 and 34 years as a township firefighter.
The opening was posted Oct. 5, with a deadline of Nov. 1. The township fire chief position pays $24,000 per year and requires 20 hours per week. The township has about 26 paid on call firefighters.
Bullen, 62, is a township resident, an Oxford native and a 1973 graduate of Oxford High School.
A licensed builder, he worked at GM Truck and Bus Pontiac and Truck and Bus Flint. He retired in 2007.
In 1980, Bullen joined the Brandon Fire Department as a firefighter. In 1990, he moved to the township and joined the fire department. He was promoted to sergeant and in 2007 earned the rank of captain.
“I just really wanted to help people,” said Bullen. “As a firefighter you can give back to the community in a variety of ways. Chief Forys did an outstanding job and there are some big shoes to fill. We have some big challenges at the department—new radios and equipment are coming—the firefighting business an ever changing.”
Bullen’s road to become fire chief included interviews from three area fire chiefs who volunteered as the succession team. Steve McGee, fire chief Groveland Township; Ed Blight- fire chief Mundy Township and fire chief Bob Burdette, Grand Blanc Township, conducted the selection.
The candidates included, Steve Bullen, captain, Atlas Township Fire Department. He has served for 27-years; Nicolas Brooks, Atlas Township firefighter since 2006; Don Welsh- former Atlas Township Fire Chief who served from 1998-2001 and assistant chief from 1986-1998, 15-years on the Atlas Township Fire Department and Billy Starr, captain Brandon Township Fire Department with 21-years of experience.
Tere Onica, township supervisor said the four candidates were all asked the same questions, each candidate was scored independently by each chief and the results were tallied.
“All the candidates received very high compliments from the chiefs that conducted the interviews, she said. “But their concern was who would be the best fit for the township.”