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City gets new full-time fire chief
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BRODHEAD - Running the Brodhead Fire Department has become a full-time job, and Jay Bohan is the man who will do it.

The Brodhead City Council July 14 appointed Bohan to the paid position. The St. Joseph, Minn. native was the fire chief for St. John's University in St. Joseph for the last seven years.

Before that, he served 15 years with the Spring Lake Park, Minn., Fire Department and two years in an administrative position with the Apple Valley, Minn. Fire Department.

"I wanted to get back to a municipal fire department," said Bohan as he recalled reviewing the position announcement for the Brodhead fire department. "I have always heard good things about Wisconsin and Brodhead seems like a nice friendly city about the same size as St. Joseph."

Bill Ruchti, who has served 27 years with Brodhead's department, including 10 as part-time fire chief, will continue as assistant chief.

Bohan doesn't want to make changes to the fire department but wants to "help the department move into the future."

As the city grows, responsibilities for the new fire chief will include managing the fire department and making sure all businesses are up to code and operational for the fire department. The department has 31 active volunteers.

Brodhead Clerk/Treasurer Nancy Schoeller said Bohan will start July 29.

Schoeller said there has been discussion for several years that the fire chief should become a full-time, paid position rather than a volunteer position because of the amount of time required for paperwork, training and administrative work.

Ruchti said that some weeks he would work as much as 40 hours.

"With the increase in paperwork responsibilities, the day-to-day activities and the additional training requirements it just isn't feasible for zero pay," Ruchti said. "They needed to get someone else into this position, someone with the right experience."

Bohan is "really excited about the next challenge" and he and his wife Holly have purchased a home six blocks from the fire station. The couple has two adult sons, Devan and Kevan, and one grandchild.