With the status of the suspended fire chief still up in the air and no assistant chief on staff, the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Board appointed an interim chief on Tuesday.
Capt. Bill Strain assumed the duties of chief effective Wednesday.
The appointment came after a two-hour executive session, taken for the stated purpose of discussing personnel.
While Jon Salyer, human resources manager and public information officer for the district, has received resumes for the position of assistant chief, he told board members Tuesday that he has not had the time to review the candidates or to conduct interviews.
Since former district assistant Chief Chad Hamilton left the district for another job in the Columbus area in December, Salyer and the district’s three captains have absorbed the duties of the chief and assistant chief positions, with Salyer handling all the paperwork, which Salyer described as “an avalanche.”
On Wednesday, Salyer said he was doing “everything but HR.”
But with Strain, who knows the district and everything about the day to day operations, in the position of interim chief Salyer said that will free him up to do his job and review in detail the applications for assistant chief. He said he anticipates bringing the top candidates to the board at its next meeting in two weeks.
Strain’s tenure as interim chief is temporary, and he will go back to a captain once an assistant chief is hired, Salyer said. The new assistant chief, if it is still needed upon hiring, will then become acting chief until there is resolution on the matter of Chief Bradley George.
George has been on suspension since early July, first due to a pending investigation, then as a punitive measure after it was determined in a hearing that charges of gross negligence, malfeasance, and failure to show good behavior were true, and then he was suspended again due to another pending investigation.
A status on the most-recent investigation was expected this week, but did not come prior to Tuesday’s meeting.
In other business, district public information officer Branden Jackman presented board members with several matters needing board approval for purchase.
The two requests approved Tuesday were for an annual service agreement with Physio-Control, which handles the district’s software, for $ 6,107. The other is an advertising campaign the district provides as a public education tool. Its annual cost is $3,000.
The other matters Jackman brought to the board for review were a time clock system that would not only replace paper time sheets but track comp time, sick time, and certifications, among a myriad of other features; a heart monitor on one of the busiest squads in the district that needs replaced; software packages; upgrading from laptops to durable iPads that can better handle the wear and tear of being used across three shifts on a daily basis; replacing rope and associated equipment; and upgrading the district’s IT infrastructure, which Jackman said had to be put off last year because the money had to be put toward truck repairs.
Jackman said that he worked on the items with Hamilton prior to his departure from the district and that most of the items had already been figured into the 2016 budget.
Board members are to review the information.
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 next meeting is Jan. 12. The meetings are open to the public.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.