By Amanda Ensinger
It is the end of an era as a township employee hangs up his uniform for the last time.
At a recent Prairie Township meeting, the board approved the retirement of Prairie Township Fire Chief Chris Snyder after 34 year of service. The board also named Chief Allen Scott as the new fire chief.
“I had been thinking about retiring for a while and then an opportunity came about that seemed like the perfect fit,” Snyder said. “I will be retiring from Prairie Township and will become the fire chief at Jefferson Township in Madison County.”
Snyder said the reason he wanted to retire and become the chief at Jefferson Township was because that was where he started his career.
“I started out as a volunteer firefighter there in 1974 and became their first full-time firefighter,” Snyder said. “I was contacted by Jefferson Township and told their chief was retiring and asked if I was interested in the position. After thinking about it a lot, I thought it was a great opportunity to come full circle in my career.”
Snyder joined the Prairie Township Fire Department from Jefferson Township in 1985 and became fire chief six years ago. Since his tenure as chief with the department, he has transformed the department, making it fiscally sound.
“Chief Snyder has done an amazing job and was crucial in fixing the financial issue the department was in,” said Prairie Township Fire Chief Allen Scott. “He has put into effect some great processes that have helped this department. I am excited to continue to tap into our potential.”
Scott said that while he expected Snyder to retire at some point, he was surprised how quickly everything has transpired.
“When I was hired, we had a discussion about this transition and had plans in place for this,” Scott said. “While we were prepared, it still was a surprise. However, we are all very excited for Chief Snyder. It is special to be able to finish your career where you started it and it is a great opportunity for him.”
Scott, who was hired as the assistant fire chief in 2016, has already been crucial to implementing important changes to the department. Among those changes was working with township leadership to contract dispatching services for the township with Grove City.
In 2017, the township eliminated its dispatching services and started contracting with Grove City to do all dispatching for the township. The township pays over $200,000 a year for these services, but previously paid over $300,000 a year to provide their own dispatching services.
“I have some additional small changes I would like to make,” Scott said. “However, first I want to evaluate where we are at before making any major changes and get settled into the position. Also, any big changes would need to be approved by the board first.”
Scott will now make approximately $112,500 a year, an increase of the approximate $107,200 he made as assistant chief. Scott also said right now he will not have an assistant chief.
“I am very excited to take on this new role,” Scott said. “We have wonderful employees and a very supportive community. I am proud to work here and am excited for the future.”