PROSPECT — The people in the top two positions at the Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect have switched places.
Bill Lauber, 35, who has served as the assistant fire chief since 2011, was named chief earlier this month. At the same time Jay Kolodziej, who served the department as chief since 2011, stepped into the role of assistant chief.
Lauber joined the department in 1999 and has served as the truck foreman of various apparatus, a motor engineer, and a lieutenant before being named assistant chief and then chief.
“I am honored to be stepping into the role as chief of the department. It has been something I have been working towards since I got my feet wet, if you will, as an officer (lieutenant) back in 2005,” Lauber said in an email.
The department announced the change on its Facebook page. According to the post, Kolodziej stepped down as chief due to family and work commitments. He could not be reached for comment.
The role of assistant chief is one Kolodziej is familiar with. He served in that capacity prior to becoming chief. Kolodziej, who has been with the department approximately 15 years, has also served as a captain.
Lauber said his time as assistant chief working under Kolodziej helped prepare him for his new role.
“I learned a lot from Chief Kolodziej over the last five years and we have both had common goals in mind. We’ve really jumped into the 21st century in terms of using electronics more around the firehouse and using social media as a large part of communicating with the public,” Lauber said.
Lauber doesn’t have any big changes in mind as chief, but he does have goals that he wants the department to reach.
The most important goal to Lauber is putting together a fire apparatus replacement plan that will outline how the department will replace trucks for the next 20 years.
“That will be presented to the mayor and the Town Council in Prospect so they can plan ahead financially and be prepared for larger purchases, since our apparatus are some of the larger purchases the town makes,” Lauber said.
Lauber said he anticipates the department needing to replace one of the trucks in 2018.
“It takes a good year of research and planning to replace a vehicle, so that committee will be starting really soon,” Lauber said.