Howard fire chief resigns

Howard fire chief Bill Goddard resigns

Howard County Fire and Rescue Chief Bill Goddard has resigned and will be stepping down Dec. 2, county executive-elect Allan Kittleman announced Friday. 

Deputy Fire Chief John Butler will serve as acting chief during the search for a permanent replacement for Goddard, Kittleman said. 

In a press release announcing the change, Kittleman said Goddard's resignation was "mutually agreed to after discussions with the former chief." 

Goddard has been Howard County's fire chief since 2009, when County Executive Ken Ulman chose him as a replacement for retiring chief Joseph Herr.

Goddard had previously worked as deputy chief of the Prince George's County fire department, executive assistant to the state fire marshal, deputy secretary of state under former Gov. Parris Glendening and vice president of development for the Michael Cos. Inc., in Lanham. 

In Howard, he presided over the construction and opening of several new fire stations, including ones in Glenwood, West Friendship and Savage, reduced emergency call reponse time by a minute and saw Howard County's CPR success rate named best in the region. 

He also faced heat during his tenure from western county firefighters, who said Goddard's decision this year to require contingents -- staff who work on a part-time, paid basis and are not volunteers or career personnel -- to meet national training standards was an effort to phase them out. 

Goddard said Friday that he had "mixed emotions" about his resignation.

"It has been a tremendous honor to lead such a talented group of women and men who wholeheartedly serve the residents of Howard County," he said in a statement. "During my time as chief of the department, we’ve accomplished a great deal. This is a great county and a great department and it has been my utmost pleasure to serve as the fire chief. I have every confidence that the department will continue to be a model of excellence in fire and EMS."

In the release announcing Goddard's resignation, Kittleman thanked the departing chief for his service. He hinted at the possibility of more staff turnover, writing that "other possible changes... will be announced as the transition to the Kittleman administration moves forward." 

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