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Firefighter to head emergency services

November 03, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown firefighter who serves as chief of a local volunteer fire company will be Washington County's new emergency services director.

The County Commissioners on Tuesday hired John A. Latimer IV to replace Joe Kroboth as director of the Division of Fire and Emergency Services.

"The guy really impressed me," Commissioner John C. Munson said Wednesday. "I think he'll really serve the county well."

Munson said Latimer's first day with the county is expected to be Nov. 28.

Latimer, who will be paid $68,000 a year in the county position, plans to leave the Hagerstown Fire Department.

He also will leave his post as chief of Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co. but remain a member of that company, Munson said.

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Latimer could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

He said in a written statement that he was committed to serving the county.

"I am confident that my knowledge of the industry, leadership experience, and integrity qualify me to serve ..." Latimer wrote.

Munson said the commissioners voted unanimously to hire Latimer after interviewing him in closed session late Tuesday afternoon.

"He seems like he's going to work out," Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said Wednesday.

Wivell said Latimer spoke of his vision for the position and "seemed real energetic" during the interview.

Latimer, who has served more than 15 years in the fire and rescue field, was chosen from more than 30 applicants for his "passion" for emergency services, according to a written statement from the county.

In addition to his firefighter duties, Latimer is a field and special programs instructor with the University of Maryland's Fire and Rescue Institute and is accredited in fire, rescue, hazardous materials, incident management and rapid intervention, according to the statement.

Before becoming chief of Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Co. in 2000, Latimer served as a firefighter, driver and operator, lieutenant, assistant fire chief and deputy fire chief with the company, according to the statement.

Wivell said Kroboth likely would train Latimer before moving to his new position as the county's deputy director of the Division of Public Works.

The commissioners in August hired Kroboth for the position created last summer. Kroboth's salary will be about $82,000 a year, Munson said at the time of the hiring.

Kroboth, a professional engineer, has worked for the county since 1990. He was the county's deputy chief engineer before becoming the head of emergency services on Sept. 11, 2001.

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