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Lake Alfred--Chief Larry D. Cloud Passes Away

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  • Lake Alfred--Chief Larry D. Cloud Passes Away

    Ledger On Line

    Police And Fire Chiefs Named
    City manager fills once-combined jobs separately. City manager fills once-combined jobs separately.

    By Merissa Green
    The Ledger
    [email protected]

    LAKE ALFRED -- Rather than hire one man to fill the public safety position, City Manager Ray Leibensperger hired two.

    Leibensperger has named police Lt. Art Bodenheimer the new police chief and fire Capt. Roger Pridgen as the new fire chief. They each will be paid $42,000.

    The two men replace Public Safety Chief Larry Cloud, who died Aug. 29 of colon cancer. Cloud, the city's former fire chief, became the public safety director last year after the City Commission decided that combining the police and fire departments would save the city money. The police chief position was eliminated and Cloud commanded both departments.

    Leibensperger said his decision to eliminate the public safety chief and return the hierarchy to the old structure was based on speaking with staff from both departments and Cloud. He concluded the departments ran better with separate chiefs.

    Leibensperger said he had conversations with Pridgen and Bodenheimer to make sure they both wanted the positions and they were willing to do what the job required.

    "I think they're going to be a tremendous benefit to the city and I'm very proud to have them," he said. "Any time you have people in house who are qualified, you need to take advantage of it."

    Bodenheimer, 39, has worked for the city for 15 years; Pridgen, 48, has worked for the city for 18 years. Bodenheimer is paid $41,000 currently, while Pridgen earns $29,213.

    Both men said the promotion is bittersweet.

    Bodenheimer said he wants to continue the professionalism established by Cloud.

    "I'm happy for me, but I'm still saddened by what has happened to us," he said. "I want to do a good job for everybody."

    Pridgen said all firefighters aspire to be chief one day, but this was a terrible way to reach it.

    "If I hadn't gotten the job this way, I would've been ecstatic," he said. "I just hope I'll be able to live up to the expectations."

    Pridgen said he has a lot of friends and mentors throughout the county to assist him in his transition.

    Bodenheimer and Pridgen said they are prepared for the challenge and have a checklist of items they want to accomplish.

    Pridgen said his first priority is to help the Fire Department get through the budget process. Bodenheimer said he wants to complete the evidence building and continue making improvements within the department.

    "Even though we are a small department, I want to make sure we keep up with technology and training," he said.

    Merissa Green can be reached at [email protected] or 863-401-6968.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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