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Tamaqua fire chief is stepping down

Tamaqua Borough Fire Chief Thomas H. Hartz Jr. is stepping down from his position effective Dec. 1. Hartz offered his resignation to Tamaqua Borough Council on Tuesday night, saying it’s been an honor to serve as the borough’s chief for the past few years. He went on to ask council to reconsider the current system of two five-year terms for the position of chief.

“The majority of officers and I feel the current system is too long as it hinders the advancement of some (of) the most qualified and very experienced firefighting officers in the county, if not the state,” he said.

Hartz has served as the borough’s fire chief since 2011. He also served as chief of the Citizens Fire Company, a position from which he also resigned.

The letter also prompted council to look into Act 172 that deals with tax credits or breaks for volunteers.

“Tamaqua is blessed to have the volunteers that it has and they shouldn’t be taken for granted,” Hartz said.

The Citizens Fire Company advised council that Jason Hartz has been elected as that company’s fire chief, effective the same date as Thomas Hartz’s retirement.

Council then moved to appoint James Connely of the American Hose Company No. 1 as the borough’s overall fire chief.

In other appointments, council reappointed Mark Conville to the Tamaqua Planning Commission. Conville will serve another four-year term.

Council also heard from John Handler, who currently serves as the borough’s representative on the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission. Handler expressed interest in continuing to serve another three-year term, and council approved his request.

Council also reviewed the Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas plans and approved the Santa Claus arrival parade on Dec. 1. The parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the borough garage and continue to Depot Square Park for the lighting of the park and then to the Tamaqua Community Arts Center on Pine Street. This event is part of a five-day festival filled with Christmas celebrations.