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Howard County Fire Chief Bill Anuszewski to retire after just over a year as leader

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Friday announced Department of Fire and Rescue Services Chief Bill Anuszewski will retire at the end of August.

“It has been my honor to serve as the 12th fire chief for Howard County. The quality of care and dedication of the men and women in Howard County Fire and Rescue is inspiring,” Anuszewski said in a statement.

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“I thank Executive Ball for the opportunity to lead this great department and retire confident that the residents and visitors of Howard County are protected by one of the best fire and EMS departments in the world.”

Anuszewski’s last day will be Aug. 31 after a 38-year fire career and nearly 14 months in charge of the department. He served as acting chief from March 2020 to May 2020 after former chief Christine Uhlhorn, the first female fire chief in Howard County, retired in February 2020 to spend more time with her family. He officially took over May 25, 2020.

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His salary at the time of his departure announcement is $224,110, according to the county.

Deputy Gordon Wallace will serve as acting chief beginning Sept. 1.

Before his appointment as chief, Anuszewski, an Ellicott City resident, was deputy chief of operations for the Department of Fire and Rescue Services and served as the director of the Office of Emergency Management, according to a news release.

He began in the fire service as a volunteer with the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department in 1983 before being hired by the Howard County department in 1990 as part of Recruit Class 7.

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During his career, Anuszewski worked in multiple bureaus within the department, serving as battalion chief of special operations, field operations and assistant chief of logistics.

From 2012 to 2017, he oversaw budgets, grant management, human resources, payroll, and research and policy as assistant chief of administrative services.

“During [Anuszewski’s] tenure, the department launched its Mobile Integrated Community Health Program, which has been so crucial to ensuring that we reach some of our most vulnerable residents with [COVID-19] vaccines. His team has served our community well,” Ball said in a statement.

In addition to the launch of the MICH Program, Anuszewski increased department diversity through strategic recruiting, oversaw the start of construction of a new Waterloo station and developed a three-year strategic plan for the department, according to the release.

“Chief Anuszewski stepped into the role of acting chief just as the COVID-19 [pandemic] began, and I appreciate his leadership in helping us navigate the pandemic with front-line paramedics and emergency technicians,” Ball said.

The county has not made any announcements regarding the search process for the next permanent chief.

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