Carroll County Times, Westminster, Md.
May 25—Carroll County Fire and EMS Director Robert McCoy Jr. has resigned, effective immediately, after less than one year in the new position.
“This is a big loss for our county. He was the right person with the right fit,” Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said. “I am disheartened and disappointed.”
McCoy was selected as the county’s first director of the budding Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services in July 2020, with the intent of leading Carroll in forming its first countywide combination fire and EMS service.
According to a county news release announcing the resignation Monday night, “the new department is critical to the development of the combination fire service in the county,” and moving forward, “internal staff will continue to investigate the best path as an extensive search for a new director begins.”
Wantz, who has years of experience himself as a firefighter, was a strong advocate for McCoy when he was picked for the position, pointing to his recent experience “doing the very thing that we’re looking to accomplish here.”
“At this point we are just trying to catch our breath,” Wantz said. “But we need to move forward and refill the position.”
Attempts to reach McCoy had been unsuccessful as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Previously, McCoy established a regional department within York County, Pennsylvania during his eight years as fire chief. The department was the first regional combination fire department in the state.
In Carroll, he envisioned the paid fire company members supporting volunteers, rather than the countywide department taking away from the identities of existing volunteer companies.
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“My goal here is to keep the volunteer system thriving as long as possible,” McCoy said last year. “Then to have the necessary framework in place to assist where we can as a county fire department.”
Bruce Fleming, president of the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association, said up until McCoy was hired, the CCVESA was a volunteer service with personnel paid by the county. The ex-director’s role was to “combine career departments for county employees as well as volunteer services.”
Fleming said an official response to the resignation is forthcoming from the organization.
In a statement from the Carroll County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 5184, Michael Karolenko, president of the group, wrote they are disappointed to see McCoy depart from their leadership.
“The development of the Carroll County Department of Fire and EMS truly benefitted from his uncommon and substantial experience during this first year. His leadership, direct and honest communication, and dedication to top-level services will be sorely missed.”
The Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics are looking to commissioners to “continue their investment in public safety, expedite the search for our next leader, and minimize the delay in guaranteeing services to our county.”
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