By Rebecca Bakken
Kalamazoo Gazette (Michigan)
KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP — A former Kalamazoo Township firefighter was appointed to temporarily replace Ron Farr, the township's fire chief, who was recently tapped by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to be the state fire marshal.
Richard "Duke" Cutshaw served the township previously as a volunteer firefighter and was the chief of the Eastwood fire station, township Clerk Don Thall said.
"He's had a long relationship with the township," Thall said at Monday's meeting of the township Board of Trustees, which approved the temporary appointed. "He's familiar with township operations to handle the administrative end."
Thall said Cutshaw is retired and is not in the running for the full-time position. Cutshaw will begin his temporary appointment immediately.
The board Monday also officially accepted Farr's resignation. He has worked for the department for 37 years and spent the past six years as fire chief.
Farr, 59, said he has been honored to serve for "one of the best departments" in the state.
"It has been a learning experience, it's been a joy and it's been an extreme honor," Farr said.
Township Supervisor Terri Mellinger said, "It's not one of the best, it's the best, and you helped make it that way."
Farr said he is not retiring, but will just be serving in a different capacity.
"I'm going to continue to actively pursue making Michigan the safest place to live ... in relation to fires," Farr said.
Farr will be using the remainder of his vacation days with the township until June 30 but begins his position with the state on May 18.
Thall said the township has received two applications for the permanent fire chief position. He estimated the process to find a new fire chief will take about two months.
Also Monday, township attorney John Bauckham announced he would no longer serve officially as the township's lawyer. Bauckham had served in the capacity since 1949.
The announcement came after a two-month vacation by Bauckham, during which attorney Ken Sparks, his law partner, had been serving as Bauckham's replacement. Bauckham said that since Sparks has a lot of experience in township business, it would be a smooth transition.
"Sparks did a fine job," Bauckham said. "I've been doing this so long, I thought it'd be nice to make a change."
Bauckham said he would still be available for occasional consultation and said he has "certainly enjoyed serving the township over the years."
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