NORTH WILDWOOD – North Wildwood City Council appointed Daniel Speigel, the recently retired Wildwood fire chief, as the city’s full-time construction, fire and zoning official. Mayor Patrick Rosenello called Speigel a “jack-of-all trades” who “holds an unbelievable number of licenses.”
Speigel, 46, retired from the Wildwood Fire Department Dec. 31, 2019, after 28 years with the department and nearly four years as chief.
“The fire department, it’s a young man’s job and, obviously, I’m still young, but after putting 28 years in the department, I was ready to move on to my next adventures, whatever they may be. Fortunately this one popped up,” Speigel said, in an interview.
He added he has been attending classes and obtaining more licenses for the last 10 years, preparing himself for retirement.
“I’m just looking forward to the challenge and working for the City of North Wildwood,” Speigel said. “I hope I do a good job for them, finally being able to put over 10-or-15-years of education to work.”
Speigel spoke of his time with the Wildwood Fire Department, where he began working when he was 18.
“In my almost four years leading the department, we made great strides in training, our equipment, and our staffing levels. That’s something I’m proud of,” said Speigel. He added that there were several factors in his decision to retire. “I wanted to travel more with my wife, spend some more time with my daughter, she’s getting ready to graduate high school and go on to college, so there’s a lot of factors for me leaving Wildwood.”
Speigel’s appointment comes as North Wildwood reshuffles its construction office. The city had two part-time officials who handled construction, zoning and fire, and they shared one full-time assistant. With the full-time assistant retiring and a part-timer being hired away for a full-time position, there was an opportunity to change the structure of the office.
Rather than shuffling paperwork across three different desks, Rosenello hopes to streamline the process of building in North Wildwood with Speigel overseeing all stages. He will have a full-time clerk, Jeanne Kilian, for support. She was also appointed Feb. 18.
“We are bringing services together that logically go together,” Rosenello said, in a phone interview. “If you want to do any construction in North Wildwood, your first stop is the zoning officer to find out if what you want to do is zoning compliant. Then, you go to the construction official for construction and then fire inspection becomes a part of the construction process.”
Speigel was the one for all three jobs.
“As the fire chief in Wildwood, I was aware that he had all of the certifications for all of those positions and he was looking for a full-time job, so we did some realigning internally to bring those three positions and make it one position and make it a full-time position,” Rosenello said. “Dan kind of came about after we had started to think about combining these positions into one office. It’s something we’ve been probably been thinking about for about a year.”
“We didn’t talk to him until sometime in February,” Rosenello said. “Early February is when we finally formally sat down with him and started having some discussions.”
Speigel had a construction company that he ran during his early years in the fire department. He said he regularly teaches classes for Kane University, which handles the Division of Fire Safety’s training program throughout New Jersey, and Rutgers, which has classes for the Department of Community Affairs Division of Code and Standards, mainly handling Uniform Construction Code.
Speigel said he holds these licenses: construction official, fire subcode, building subcode, zoning official, fire official and housing official.
He said he has worked part-time in Avalon, West Wildwood and Lower Township, filling different roles.
Speigel was promoted through the Wildwood Fire Department, first to lieutenant in 2001, then to captain in 2003, deputy chief in 2013, and finally chief in 2016.
He is the son of a retired Wildwood Fire Chief Floyd Speigel.
“My wife, Andrea, and I just got married two years ago. When we first got together, she thought I was crazy because I had six or seven jobs,” Speigel joked. “It helped me gain experience in those various fields though and prepare me for my next gig in retirement.”
To contact Shay Roddy, email email@example.com.
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