WAUSAU (WAOW) – Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel will take over as acting fire chief when longtime Fire Chief Gary Buchberger retires Feb. 1, a city official said Friday.
The move was approved by the Police and Fire Commission during a morning meeting, said Michael Loy, the city's director of human resources.
“We anticipate the position will be open for two to four months,” Loy said. “Jeff is a good leader. I think he will provide good stability in the transition.”
The fire chief leads a department of about 60 firefighters.
Hardel, 54, joined the Wausau Police Department in 1980 and was named chief in April 2006, Loy said.
The city's target to hire a new fire chief is April, maybe June at the latest, Loy said.
“There are internal candidates who want to apply for the job,” he said.
The fire chief's job is more administrative than operational, meaning Hardel is unlikely to respond to many routine fires, Loy said.
Deputy Fire Chief Phil Rentmeester is among those in the department with the operational expertise, Loy said.
What Hardel will be paid for taking on the additional duties has not been determined, Loy said.