Turlock Fire Chief Mark Langley retired Wednesday, ending a 30 year career with the City of Turlock.
“He’s had a long and distinguished career and has just been a great fire chief,” said City Manager Roy Wasden. “We wish him the very best in retirement… I think he’s going to play a lot of golf.”
Langley will be replaced by Interim Fire Chief Tim Lohman. Lohman will continue to serve his current post as Operations Division Chief – responsible for all emergency service operations of the department – while assuming the strategic planning responsibilities of fire chief.
Langley’s retirement well help the cash-strapped City of Turlock save money over the next six to 12 months, as the city will not be billed for a fire chief. Lohman will also work with Turlock Police Chief Gary Hampton, who will assume the title of interim public safety director, during that time to explore cost cutting strategies such as combining recordkeeping, financial, and payroll staff between the two public safety departments.
While Wasden acknowledged the strategy is “a little out of the box,” he said it will help Turlock close a $3.6 million budget deficit.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for us,” Wasden said. “I’m looking to save every penny I can every place I can.”
Wasden said there are no plans to create a single public safety agency with the move, and that police and fire will continue to independently function.
Lohman will meet with all fire personnel on Wednesday to lay out a plan for the future of the Turlock Fire Department.
“I definitely know what I’m getting into and I’m excited about the opportunity and what’s ahead of us,” Lohman said. “… We’ve got some great people here, good firefighters here that are committed to the citizens of this community”
For Lohman, a Turlock native and 30-year veteran of the Turlock Fire Department whose worked his way from volunteer to firefighter, training chief, battalion chief, operations division chief, and now interim fire chief, the chance to lead the fire department is an opportunity of a lifetime – despite the troubling fiscal times.
“I just absolutely love this city and the citizens that live here and all of our employees and the fire service,” Lohman said. “It’s a passion of mine.”
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.