Brian Platz approved as new North Liberty fire chief

City Council sets his salary at $108,763

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NORTH LIBERTY — The North Liberty City Council on Tuesday approved Brian Platz as its first full-time fire chief.

City Administrator Ryan Heiar confirmed Wednesday that the council had unanimously approved a resolution during its meeting on Tuesday night confirming Platz — Iowa City’s Deputy Fire Chief — as fire chief.

Platz is expected to join the North Liberty Fire Department on Nov. 6, earning a salary of $108,763.

Platz is a 24-year veteran of the Iowa City Fire Department and as deputy fire chief has been responsible for coordinating and directing emergency operations, maintaining facilities, managing special projects and serving as the department’s accreditation manager.

He earned his Master of Science degree from Grand Canyon University, is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officers program and holds numerous certificates.

Platz will replace former part-time chief Eric Vandewater, who served with the department from 2005 to 2016; and interim fire chief Bill Schmooke, who will stay on as assistant chief.

“Personally, I’m super excited,” Schmooke said earlier this month. “I’ve known Brian for a lot of years now. He’s a great, great, great person ... I think he’s really going to make an impact on the day-to-day operations at the NLFD.”

Following a study conducted at the end of 2016, the volunteer fire department recommended hiring a full-time chief and implementing other changes. A search for a full-time chief was conducted this summer. The other finalists were Brookfield, Wis., Fire Lt. Steven Denzien; Marion Fire Capt. William House; Mason City Fire Capt. Jason Ogbourne; and Battalion Chief Richard Kurka with the Bloomingdale, Ill., Fire Department.

Schmooke said all of the candidates were highly qualified and put through a vigorous vetting process.

Platz, 45, has a Chief Fire Officer designation from the Centers for Public Safety Excellence’s Commission on Professional Credentialing and holds certificates as a firefighter, fire inspector, fire instructor, fire officer, emergency medical technician, aerial operator, driver operator and hazardous materials technician.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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