Strasburg firefighters choose executives, officers

STRASBURG – The Strasburg Fire Department has chosen Chad Sherman as its new president and replacement for Chris Ritenour, who resigned on Sunday.

The election of Sherman, formerly vice president, was one of several changes made Thursday night at a department-wide meeting held to choose executive and line officers for new terms beginning Jan. 1.

Glenn Mason will replace Sherman as vice president. Operations Captain Dale King was chosen to replace Rob Scott as assistant chief after Scott resigned a few days ago around the same time as Ritenour.

Other department executive and line officers chosen include Bradley Polk, treasurer; Kayla Williams, secretary; Tom Frazier, chaplain; Todd Dean, fire prevention; Tim Mawyer, membership; Austin Cucciardo, operations captain; and Adam Funkhouser, training captain.

Jeff Wharton, whose term is not up for renewal this year, remains as chief.

Sherman said Friday he is confident the department remains an effective fire fighting force, despite recent controversy generated by some veteran members who publicly criticized Wharton for what they consider poor disciplinary and personnel management practices. He also said the department is taking the resignations of Ritenour and Scott in stride.

“I’d say we still have a pretty good state of morale even after the events that have taken place in the last week,” Sherman said Friday. “I still think we have a great group of guys.”

Sherman said he was the only person nominated for the presidency.

Ritenour cited a conflict of interest between his paid position as chief supervisor at the town’s water treatment plant and his volunteer role with the fire department as the reason for his resignation.

Ritenour said in his resignation statement that he hoped the department would choose a replacement for him who “has the ability to speak freely and work with the town and county in a manner that is not constrained and serves our department best.”

Sherman said some of the criticisms of Wharton and the department’s overall leadership were “purely accusations.”

“I believe there are people out there just trying to get things to stick at this point,” Sherman said. “We’re not going to tolerate it, and we’re going to let the town and citizens know we are here for you, and we will prevail.”

Sherman added that he and Wharton “will be glad to answer any questions” from town residents about the department.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com