By Jeff Gallatin
City officials have hired one firefighter and are making initial preparations for bringing in another to deal with retirements and maintain full shift staffing in the fire department.
Mark Obran, who was a city of Lorain firefighter, and also is an Amherst volunteer firefighter and certified paramedic, started with the Bay Village Fire Department on July 21. He will be replacing 33-year veteran Gary Clifford, who is retiring next week. By bringing in Obran, the Bay department will be able to maintain full strength for all three shifts and maintain the force at 25 members.
“We won’t miss a beat on the shifts when Gary retires,” fire Chief Chris Lyons said. “I can’t say enough about Gary and what a good guy and experienced firefighter he is. I’m just glad that we’re replacing him with another experienced firefighter and paramedic in Mark. You’re not always able to do that. He doesn’t have to go to school or be certified, which means he can do the job right away. But he’s been trying to get on our department for several years, so we’re glad to be able to finally bring him in.”
Obran said he pursued the Bay position because he has friends who are members of the Bay department and that he has heard good things about it and the city.
‘The people are nice and friendly and the department has a very good reputation,” Obran said. “I’m humbled and honored to be a member of the department here.”
Lyons said hiring Obran now will pay off for the city.
“There was enough money in the budget for us to bring him in now instead of waiting until after Gary was gone,” Lyons said. “It means he can start picking up information about Bay right now and we won’t have to pay overtime to have people fill in on Gary’s spot until we hired someone or had to wait for someone to come back from training in school.”
In addition to hiring Obran, Lyons said the department also is preparing for hiring another firefighter because of an anticipated retirement later this year by an officer.
“We have tests that are good for both hiring and replacing the officer if he does retire as expected,” Lyons said. “We’ve already started doing the preliminary work for hiring another firefighter so we can be prepared for keeping the department at full strength. And we’ll be able to move up another officer when we’re ready.”
Bay Village safety-service Director Scott Thomas said he’s happy to keep the department at full strength with an experienced firefighter and bring someone in right away.
“It’s good for the city,” he said. “It’s a special calling when you join safety forces. I always tell them to remember how they felt when they had their first day on the job, and that if they keep the enthusiasm they had that first day on the job, then things will go well.”