Battalion Chief Aaron Markham takes the reins of the Sunnyside Fire Department, effective immediately.
Markham was named fire chief yesterday by Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell. He will serve in that capacity on an interim basis until mid-December, when, said Stockwell, "...it is likely to become permanent at that point."
Sunnyside's newest fire chief replaces Jim Stanton, who stepped down from his post last week after meeting with Stockwell. At the time, Stockwell said Stanton's departure from the fire department was related to the fire chief's health conditions. Stockwell said he and Stanton had mutually agreed that it was time for his retirement. Stanton, though, had a slightly different version to the meeting between the two men, saying he hadn't had any health problems since undergoing surgery last spring. Stanton said he was told by Stockwell to resign.
Officially, Stanton will be using up the sick leave he has accumulated until Dec. 13. He is a 33-year veteran of the local fire department.
Prior to being named the new fire chief, Markham had been filling two roles with the fire department. He was one of two battalion chiefs at the fire station, and was serving as fire marshal. Stockwell said it is highly probable that someone within the department will take over the fire marshal position.
The two battalion chief positions, said Stockwell, will be eliminated. Sunnyside's other battalion chief, Lloyd Hazzard, has been named second in command and will assume the role of deputy chief. Hazzard had served as deputy chief under Stanton prior to last year's budget cuts, but a reorganization of the department at that time reduced his command to that of a battalion chief.
The current restructuring of the fire department staff eliminates one paid administrative position within the department. The overall savings to the city should be more than $15,000.