Bellevue fire chief Mlnarik resigns, accepts job in De Pere
By Heather Graves
BELLEVUE – The Village of Bellevue is in need of a new fire chief after the Fire Commission officially accepted the resignation of Jack Mlnarik Monday, Feb. 17.
The move was made known last week when the Fire Commission agenda was released to the public, which included Mlnarik’s resignation letter.
“After I received the letter of resignation from the fire chief, I called the Fire Commission president, who requested a Fire Commission meeting for the 17th to accept the resignation and appoint an interim (chief),” said Village Administrator Diane Wessel. “At that time, I contacted each Fire Commission member and village board members, although I was unable to contact one board member. The resignation was made public later that afternoon by the statutorily required posting of the fire commission agenda.”
Mlnarik accepted a battalion chief position with the De Pere Fire Department.
In his resignation letter he said he “was offered an opportunity that I feel will give me a chance to affect the fire service in a different, yet positive way.”
Mlnarik’s last day as chief is March 17.
“The relationships that have been built in the community along with the firefighters and village staff will be missed,” Mlnarik said. “I believe that over the last three years we were able to make many positive changes in the department. This is a credit to all of the hard work and dedication by everyone involved. The village has a fire department that they can be very proud of, and I am glad that I was able to be a small part of it.”
Mlnarik offered to remain on as interim chief for a short transitional period, until a replacement can be found.
“I would be willing to act as interim fire chief during the transition period to a new fire chief, and help prepare the next person for the duties of the job,” he said in his resignation letter.
After reviewing the Fire Commission bylaws, members approved the appointment to interim chief for a period of 30 days beginning March 18, with a review each month thereafter until a permanent replacement is hired.
Wessel said more research will still need to be done on the interim chief specifics.
“I understand from Jack that this is an opportunity for him to have a positive impact on public safety in another community while providing a more flexible family life,” Wessel said. “While I have not had the pleasure of working with Chief Mlnarik for long, because I have only been here 18 months, I have the utmost respect for his integrity and leadership. I know he will do well in his next adventure and wish him well. While these words are mine, I do believe they also reflect the sentiments of the Fire Commission, the village board, village staff and the public he serves.”
Mlnarik started with the village in September 2016, succeeding former Chief Brad Muller, who retired after 30 years with the department.
Before coming to Bellevue, Mlnarik served as chief of the Oregon Area Fire and EMS District, just south of Madison.
Before that, he served as the chief of the Oconto Fire and Rescue Department, his hometown.
Mlnarik has a bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency response management, and an associate’s degree in fire science.