Bath council member, fire chief resign
In a tumultuous night at the April 2 Bath Borough Council meeting, a council member vacated her office and a beloved fire chief resigned. A new council member was appointed via a tie-breaking vote by the mayor, and the search for a new chief began.
Freshman legislator Cynthia Anderson resigned to take a position with the Nazareth-Bath Regional Chamber of Commerce. She said she will miss the experience as a member of Bath Borough Council.
When asked about the best thing about council membership, Anderson said, “Working to better Bath, and we did not raise taxes.”
Anderson served two-and-a-half years on council. She became involved because of an impulse to serve, she said, at the urging of Mayor Fiorella Reginelli-Mirabito.
Frank Hesch was appointed to council after a tie vote. Reginelli-Mirabito cast the deciding vote. Harrell Jeter, a fire department leader, and Michael Reph, a 20-plus-year council veteran, also applied for the position.
Emilio DeNisi became Bath’s fire chief in 2015. Considered a bundle of focused energy, he went right to work transforming the Bath Fire Department into a highly regarded, successful enterprise.
Regarding his departure, DeNisi said, “I plan to spend more time with my children. My son is a quarter-midget racer. He’s had success, and his races are taking more time to travel to. He loves it, and I want to be there.”
A fire department member since 1999, DeNisi plans to remain an active member.
“I simply do not have the time to devote as a chief or assistant chief,” he said.
When asked what he will miss the most, he replied, “The members, the adrenaline rush of being a firefighter and working with the public. We have good people in Bath.
“It was great working with council and [Reginelli-Mirabito],” DeNisi said. “They are dedicated people.”
The firehouse members were dismayed by his announcement, but he offered advice as their leader: “I’m not going away. We have a great team here, and we will continue to move forward.”
DeNisi said his biggest accomplishments are “increasing mutual aid, increased training for the membership, helping arrange the Bethlehem Township ambulance service in Bath and working with a good membership.”
He also stated he is happy to help get two newer firetrucks. A clear change agent, DeNisi said he is proud of ending dissension in the department.
“I never allowed yelling or fighting,” he said. “If anybody did that, I told them to leave the firehouse.”
Reginelli-Mirabito expressed sadness to see DeNisi go.
“Emilio is a great guy who did great things for Bath,” she said. “I will especially miss him. He’s a friend.”
In other business, there will be a Bath town hall meeting 9-11 a.m. May 5 at the Bath Social Club, 135 S. Walnut St. Topics will include the transition to the Pennsylvania State Police coverage, the renovated borough hall and other matters.