August 20, 2014 - By Meg Peters
Review Staff Writer
With the passage of Orion Township's proposed additional fire operation millage during the primary election, Fire Chief Bob Smith will use the approximate $1.3 million in additional tax revenue to fill 18 full-time positions.
Of the 18 positions, 15 would be 24-hour positions—firefighters working the "line"—and the remaining three would be supervisor positions.
The fire department will be filling most of those vacancies from promotions within.
Currently five full-time employees work for the department. Three of them will be promoted to the 24-hour shift (leaving 12 to be filled), and the other two will be promoted to Fire Marshall and Training Coordinator. An EMS Coordinator will need to be hired from the outside, Chief Smith said, because it requires special certification.
The remaining 12 positions can therefore be filled by Orion Township's paid on-call firefighters, who, at present jump, into operation when they are toned on their radios.
Between 15 and 18 paid on-call firefighters have already shown interest for the 24-hour shifts.
Last but not least, Chief Smith also needs a fire department clerk. This position is a union position that will follow the union contract by posting in house along with advertising to the public at the same time while following union guidelines for hiring.
The fire department must have all positions filled by January 1, 2015 in order to start the 2015 with increased staffing.
A typical firefighter works a confusing schedule.
He or she will work 24 hours in a one day on, one day off, one day on, one day off, one day on, three days off.
"I'm not reinventing the wheel, I'm taking a model that is already instituted in other communities. It's all in budget," Chief Smith said.
All payroll and hours are instituted by the Federal Labor Standards, which limits overtime pay for companies who employ 24-hour shift positions.
With the expanded payroll comes expanded responsibilities.
Firefighters will be able to do more maintenance and hydrant inspection on top of teaching school events and promoting services in public relations events to the community.