Templeton chooses former fire official as interim chief

A retired fire official with longtime roots in Templeton is now its interim fire chief.

At a special meeting Tuesday night, the Templeton Community Services District’s board of directors selected Rod Hewitt to lead its 25-person volunteer fire department until a replacement for outgoing Chief Jim Langborg is found.

Langborg, who left his post Nov. 19, announced in October that he was leaving the area to start a new fire department in Texas. In his resignation letter to the board, Langborg recommended the board not assign interim chief duties from within because his staff was already too busy.

Cal Fire helped lead the department after Langborg left.

Hewitt, now 59, retired in November 2011 as Templeton’s assistant fire chief. He had served Templeton as a volunteer firefighter for 28 years before becoming assistant chief in 2004.

Hewitt also served as interim chief for part of 2010 after Templeton resident Greg O'Sullivan — now a district board member — retired as fire chief.

Hewitt will be responsible for the overall management and operations of the fire department until a permanent chief is found. He’s being paid $45 per hour, working part-time hours tailored to the department’s needs as assigned by General Manager Jeff Hodge, according to the district office. He began work Wednesday. His contract gives him a district vehicle for work but no health benefits, according to the district office.

Details on how Hewitt’s pay compares to Langborg’s wasn’t immediately available. The district’s board of directors will wait until the new board is seated Dec. 18 to discuss how to search for a new chief. Two years ago, Langborg was selected in a national search that attracted almost 50 candidates.