New emergency services chief chosen to take Dubbs' place

January 06, 2004|by DON AINES and RICHARD F. BELISLE

The Bridgeport, W.Va., fire chief has been hired as the new emergency services chief for Chambersburg, replacing William Dubbs, who will become the borough's assistant emergency services chief.

John Vanlandingham, 33, was selected from a field of 98 candidates to become the new chief in charge of Chambersburg's fire and ambulance service. About 10 candidates were interviewed, according to borough secretary Tanya Mickey.

Vanlandingham said Monday that he has been chief in Bridgeport, population 10,000, for two years. The department in Harrison County has 12 paid members plus volunteers.


A graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in fire science, Vanlandingham said he previously served with the Spotsylvania (Va.) Fire Department for 10 years. The career firefighter rose through the ranks to become battalion chief responsible for coverage of the Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 corridors in that community.

He said his approach to administrative duties is running the fire department more like a private industry than a military operation.

"I think that's appealing," he said.

One reason he had for coming to Chambersburg is to be closer to family in Virginia and Maryland. He and his wife, Catherine, have a 9-day-old daughter, Elizabeth.

Vanlandingham said he will take over the position Feb. 4.

Dubbs was named emergency services chief in March 2001 following the resignation of Chief Allen Baldwin, who took a position with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Assistant Borough Manager David Finch said the new chief's salary will be in a range of $56,000 to $73,000, based on years of experience.

The emergency services department takes in both the fire and ambulance services. The borough has 17 paid fire and ambulance personnel, along with volunteers.

Last summer, Dubbs announced he was stepping down from the chief's position, saying it was "the right move for me and my family."

As assistant chief, Dubbs will assist with administration, fire education, code enforcement and emergency management coordination, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said last summer.

Dubbs has been a paid firefighter and apparatus driver for the borough since 1985.

Finch said the salary range for Dubbs' position is $49,000 to $64,000.

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