SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Before a packed audience at last Tuesday's Scotch Plains Township meeting, Mayor Al Smith officially swore in John Lestarchick as the new fire chief. Lestarchick takes over the position from Jonathan Ellis, who retired at the end of June after three decades with the department.

Additionally, Rutland "Skip" Paal was sworn in as deputy chief, while Joe Rodrigues was announced as the battalion chief for the Northside fire house on Senger Place. Rodrigues is currently away on Marine Reserve duty serving in the Middle East. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.