Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Assistant Chief Chad Hamilton was authorized by the board on Tuesday to look into back pay for a three-year period for employees that may not have received overtime pay when they should have.
The motion came following an executive session of the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Board during Tuesday’s regular meeting. Board members Grant Palmer and Bill Redenbaugh were not present on Tuesday.
The three-year period covers the span of time since the district began in 2010 to July 2013.
Jon Salyer, human resources manager and public information officer for Paint Creek, said the previous investigation into employees not receiving overtime pay could only go back two years, according to federal mandate. The previous years’ pay, he said, “is a civil situation that the district is going to work out with its members.”
“We want to work with them and get them what they are owed,” Salyer said, adding that the district wanted “to do right” by its employees.
As previously reported, the board authorized at a recent special meeting the back pay of nearly $78,000 to employees found to have not been paid for overtime over a two-year period.
According to district clerk Jim Barrett on Tuesday, that is set to be paid to the affected employees by electronic transfer on Friday.
Also approved by the board in a unanimous vote was for the paid suspension of chief Bradley George, pending an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
According to board members, the action was a recommendation of the district’s attorney, Brian Butcher of Columbus business management consulting firm Clemans, Nelson & Associates.
The board also approved Hamilton to continue in the capacity of chief with the appropriate pay while George is on suspension.
In other business, the board approved a motion allowing Hamilton to proceed with acquiring a new tanker truck for the district.
Hamilton said the tanker will be built specifically for the needs of the district, holds 3,000 gallons of water, and will arrive “turnkey” by next summer.
The bulk of the cost for the tanker is covered by an Assistance to Firefighters grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The federal share, Hamilton said, is $271,106. The district’s share will be $27,110.
Hamilton also provided the board information on new air packs for fire personnel.
He said the crews tried out a couple different air packs from different manufacturers and chose the ones offered by Scott Air Packs, which he said had better safety features and better equipment warranties.
Hamilton said the cost to replace the district’s outdated air packs, 46 in all, would be between $274,000 and $297,000. He said he realized that was “a considerable amount of money,” but added that the current packs used by firefighters are “at the end of their lifespan” and no longer able to be upgraded.
The air packs, Hamilton said, are a “major necessity” and the firefighters’ “primary lifeline” when they are in the midst of battling a blaze.
The matter is to be addressed again at the next regular meeting of the board.
Hamilton also reported that he is working on “mapping out” a wellness grant through the Bureau of Workers Compensation. He said if the grant is awarded it would cover the cost of employees’ annual physicals for at least four years.
He also announced that Paint Creek is getting ready to begin its fire prevention education throughout the district with preschool and elementary children.
The Paint Creek board holds its regular meetings every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Greenfield station on Washington Street. The meetings are open to the public.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.