Zinkievich says good-bye as fire chief; Maak named officer in charge
By Howard Balaban, Correspondent
MEDINA – During the latter stages of Monday night’s Medina Village Board meeting, outgoing Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich addressed the trustees in what was his final meeting as chief.
“This is very bittersweet for me,” he said. “I’ve learned some valuable life lessons in my time as chief.”
Adding that he also learned the same kind of lessons from his father – including “speak your mind” – Zinkievich took a few minutes to look back on his time as chief and his interactions with the village board during that time.
“I’ve been here a long time and seen a lot of different board members come and go,” he said, noting that some were quite obvious with their personal agendas. “I know for a fact that you all have the best interests of the village at heart, and it’s really an exciting time for the village.
“The residents here voted a couple months back to stay a village, and there’s an opportunity in front of you to prove why we should,” Zinkievich continued. “I also know there’s a lot of work ahead to make and keep us feasible as a village.”
Each member of the board praised Zinkievich’s work and expressed gratitude for his time with the Medina Fire Department.
Mayor Andrew Meier said Zinkievich should be “commended and lauded” for how well the department has run. Trustee Owen Toale, recalling his previous stint on the board almost a decade ago, told Zinkievich he remembered when the department took over ambulance services and how well the chief handled that operation.
“You’ve set a high standard,” Toale said.
Zinkievich led the Fire Department through a momentous time in its history, particularly when the department replaced Rural Metro in July 2007 as primary ambulance provider in western Orleans County.
The Department grew from six full-time firefighters to 13 now, plus two temporary full-time positions and about 20 call men. The call volume has jumped from about 300 a year a decade ago to 2,986 in 2014, the most ever in the Fire Department’s history.
Trustees Todd Bensley and Margueritte Sherman added their thank yous, and Mike Sidari slyly warned Zinkievich about his “plans for your last day at the station.”
As the lighthearted and heartfelt discussion came to a close, the board named Captain Mike Maak the officer in charge of the Medina Fire Department starting July 4.
Zinkievich’s last day is July 3, and he will be officially done with the department about two months later after using up vacation time.