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Monroe fire chief leaving for position in Fort Atkinson
MONROE - Monroe Fire Chief Daryl Rausch was hired Thursday as the new fire chief of Fort Atkinson.

Rausch, who became the Monroe Fire Chief in 2005, was chosen from a pool of 20 applicants after a months-long interview process this summer. The pool was whittled down to three finalists, including Rausch, in June.

Matt Trebatoski, City Manager of Fort Atkinson, said Rausch was the obvious choice out of the final three candidates. The Police and Fire Commission, which conducted the final interviews, was unanimous in appointing Rausch.

"In fact, the candidates were also interviewed by Fire Department staff and they all agreed Rausch was their choice," Trebatoski said.

Trebatoski said Rausch's background, education and experience were significantly more extensive than his competitors.

Fort Atkinson's previous fire chief, Mike Reel, retired in May after a 36-year-long career at the Fort Atkinson Fire Department, the last four of which were as fire chief.

Rausch will begin his new position on Sept. 26, Trebatoski said.

Monroe City Administrator Philip Rath said the process of replacing Rausch will be the responsibility of the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners. The board will decide whether to seek an internal or external replacement for Rausch, whether to appoint an interim chief and how long the hiring process may take.

After Rausch announced his candidacy for the position in June, he suggested that Deputy Chief Lane Heins would be "an excellent candidate for the Chief's position." Rath said the Board would take Rausch's suggestion into consideration.

Rausch's career with the Monroe Fire Department began in 2002, when he served as fire prevention officer and deputy fire chief. After being appointed chief, he created the city's emergency management plan and helped set up the county's Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, allowing emergency response agencies statewide to easily cooperate with each other.

Before arriving in Monroe, Rausch served with fire departments in Nebraska and Iowa since 1980, including a stint as fire chief of Guttenberg, Iowa.

Rausch declined to comment on his departure.