New fire chief appointed in Ravenna

RAVENNA – Residents welcomed a new fire chief and applauded a councilman for nearly 40 years of service at a city council meeting last night.

In what Ravenna Mayor Paul Jones called a “truly historic evening,” Geoffry Cleveland was appointed as the city’s fire chief, and Ward 1 Councilman John Tontimonia, 85, announced his retirement from the city council.

Serving since 1966, Tontimonia has represented his constituents in the northwest corner of Ravenna for 10 consecutive terms.

About 40 people attended the meeting, which council members noted as Tontimonia’s last.

“There is just no better model for public service than John Tontimonia,” Jones said.

Cleveland, 42, served on the Cleveland Fire Department for 10 years prior to this appointment.

Cleveland, who was sworn in at the meeting, will replace current chief Mark Chapple. Cleveland begins in January and is the first Ravenna fire chief to be appointed from a department outside the city.

“It’s a great opportunity, and I’m glad to be here,” Cleveland said. “It’s a rare opportunity in the fire service to have a chief hired from a different department. It’s not a usual thing.”

No candidates within the Ravenna department applied for the job. Candidates were judged by their performance on a written test and a personal assessment.

-Ryan Loew