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Wendy Reuer, Published February 10 2012

Duysen named Moorhead fire chief

MOORHEAD – Mayor Mark Voxland said Friday that Rich Duysen, the interim fire chief, is nominated to be the city’s new chief – a job open nearly 1½ years.

The City Council must approve the recommendation made by City Manager Michael Redlinger at its Monday meeting before it is official.

Redlinger sent an email to the mayor and city council members Friday morning.

“I am confident that he will lead the department with integrity, fairness and thoughtfulness,” Redlinger wrote in the email. “Rich’s character and professionalism will continue to serve the department and the citizens of Moorhead well, and we are fortunate to have him on our team.”

Duysen was one of four assistant fire chiefs interviewed for the position Thursday. He has been serving as interim fire chief since Joel Hewitt was placed on administrative leave in August 2010 while the city investigated allegations of misconduct.

Hewitt resigned under an agreement with the city in which he denied all allegations made against him, and the city agreed not to investigate further claims that he had released information about a police investigation. A prosecutor later declined to file any charges linked to the probe.

Duysen also serves as a fire marshal. He joined the Moorhead Fire Department in 1994 after serving in the North Dakota Air National Guard, according to his resume. He has a master’s degree in strategic leadership from the University of Mary.

Voxland said Thursday all four candidates were well qualified to assume the fire chief role.

“Any one of the four would make a great fire chief so Rich being acting chief – probably was a half of step ahead,” he said.

The city council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530