VENTNOR — After 24 years as a city firefighter, 50-year-old Michael Cahill is going from the front line to an administrator, which he said will be an adjustment.

The Board of Commissioners promoted Cahill to chief at a special meeting Monday, Oct. 2. His appointment comes on the heels of former Chief John Hazlett’s retirement Oct. 1.

Cahill was born and raised in Ventnor and is the brother of former Chief Daniel Cahill, who died April 27. His older brother was chief for 19 years until he retired in 2005.

“I worked my way up through the ranks,” Michael Cahill said.

Mayor Beth Holtzman administered the oath of office, stating that “as tough as he is, he has a gentle soul.”

When people gain a position of authority, they often believe they deserve respect, Holtzman said.

“Mike Cahill earned it,” she said. “The quality of a leader is the standard they set for themselves.”

Cahill said he was “moved” by the turnout for his induction.

“I appreciate the confidence they have put in me and will do my best to not let them down,” he said.

Cahill said the transition will be challenging, and he will depend on the staff at City Hall to guide him through requisitions and purchase orders.

“I told them I will be there every day if I have to asking for their assistance. I know I can depend on them to help me learn my job,” he said.

Cahill is looking forward to continuing the programs started by his predecessor and would like to see the department embrace more technology, from saving records to upgrading computers and equipment.

“Most of the equipment we have was obtained through grants from 2000 to 2006. We are now at a point where it all needs maintenance or upgrading,” he said.

He would like to see some apparatus upgrades, as well as upgrades to Station 2 on Wellington Avenue in Ventnor Heights, where he worked for many years.

Cahill said the firefighters in the department are “eager to face new challenges” as well.

“They want to be the best they can be,” he said, “and that can be done through continued training, both in house and at the county facilities we have available to us.”

Cahill has been training firefighters at the Atlantic County Fire Academy for the past 12 years and training Ventnor firefighters in house since 2003.

“I trained a couple thousand of them, more than 100 per year. Most are volunteers,” he said.

Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Kriebel said his training experience will enhance the department.

“The city has already benefited from his years of service,” Kriebel said. “He already provides lots of training in-house.”

Cahill said he would look for ways to provide training opportunities without breaking the bank.

“We are looking for structures undergoing demolition to use as training opportunities, anything we can do to train our firefighters in the city,” he said.

The Ventnor City Fire Department provides emergency medical services and fire and rescue operations, including for motor vehicle accidents and weather events.

Cahill said he would seek grants to purchase more high-elevation vehicles and equip them for use so they are ready to go in flooding emergencies.

“We’re good at flooding,” he said.

Cahill is married to Judy and has four children. Daughter Riley, 22, is a nursing student at Towson University in Maryland; son Shawn, 19, is a Navy corpsman; son Jake, 16, attends Atlantic City High School; and Brendan, 10, is a student at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex.

Kriebel said Cahill’s Civil Service appointment under recently revised contract guidelines will save the city about $20,000 in salary and benefits.

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