Wyckoff Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Rose will not be returning to the township fire department in 2013 despite his recent re-election to the position, it was revealed in a surprise announcement Tuesday night.
"Chief Rose ... will not be assuming his role as chief on Jan. 1 because he and his wife have bought a house quite some distance from Wyckoff," said Committeeman Rudy Boonstra at a committee meeting Tuesday.
Rose had been recently elected for a second 2-year term as chief, Boonstra said, adding that Rose's announcement was unexpected.
"That was quite a bit of surprise to all of us," Boonstra said.
Rose was married earlier in the year, according to multiple sources.
According to Boonstra, Graglia, a 20-year veteran of the Wyckoff Volunteer Fire Department, would be promoted to the position of chief at the Jan. 1 reorganization meeting.
"The fire department will be in good hands," Boonstra said.
Rose, in a brief interview Wednesday, confirmed that he had decided to leave Wyckoff "several weeks ago," but refused to comment further pending personal matters.
Graglia was elected to his current position of assistant fire chief by members of the fire department in September and was sworn in to his new position at the township's reorganization meeting on January 1. He was previously the deputy chief of Company 2.
Graglia could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm looking forward to working with Chief Rose, and also the officers of the three companies to make our department even better than it is," Graglia said in January. "I find it a privilege to be a part of this team."
Chief Rose earlier this year said, Wyckoff had not had an assistant fire chief since the 1950s, when the department was restructured and the deputy chief positions were created. Each of the department's three companies has a deputy chief.
In the same interview, Rose told Patch the title was brought back to help with regular department business like budgeting and making purchases, while also preparing potential future chiefs. Wyckoff was one of the only towns in the area that did not have an assistant chief.
"He's an excellent selection," Rose said in January, referring to Graglia. "We'll work very closely together. It's a good stepping stone in training for the day-to-day operations of the department."
In addition, Rose said, the position had been created with an eye toward the future.
"While this position will not serve as an automatic step to the chief of department position, our thought is that the assistant chief position will prepare a future chief and it will ensure that we have properly trained our future leaders," Rose said in January 2012.
Stay with Patch for more on this developing story.
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