BREAKING NEWS: City department heads announced

COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City will have a new police chief beginning in 2012.Det. Tim Longenbaugh, a former Columbia City Common Council member and 15-year veteran of the city’s police force, was named by Mayor-elect Ryan Daniel to replace current Chief Mike Petersen.Longenbaugh represents the city’s only new department head.“After a fairly lengthy application and interview process, I have chosen eight individuals who have the skill set and proactive foresight to lead these departments,” said Daniel.“The residents of the city can be assured that we have strong and knowledgeable leaders in these key positions.”Longenbaugh is currently a detective for the department.The other seven current department heads will continue to serve — Kelly Cearbaugh (street/sewer), Michael Cook (wastewater), Michael Dear (water), Mark Green (parks and recreation), Tom LaRue (fire), Terry Wherry (communications) and Larry Whetstone (electric).“All of the applicants were highly qualified for the positions and I want to thank them for being willing to step into a leadership role,” Daniel said.“I am also thankful to my board of works members and the clerk-treasurer for helping me make some of these difficult decisions.”According to a press release issued by Daniel, 20 applications were received for the eight positions.