By Melanie Yingst
June 15, 2014
TROY — Troy City Council will have the second reading of an ordinance to establish part-time wages for the Troy Fire Department at today’s meeting.
At the June 2 meeting, councilman Tom Kendall requested council move for a second reading due to council member Robin Oda and Bobby Phillips not in attendance.
The ordinance seeks to establish hourly rates of $13 an hour for part-time firefighter/EMT and $14 an hour for part-time firefighter/paramedic.
Troy Fire Department Chief Boehringer’s current proposal seeks to hire two part-time employees, which was reduced from his initial request of 24 part-time personnel in his April proposal.
Boehringer’s proposal also includes to keep the department’s current level of 38 full-time uniformed paramedic staffing with no future reduction in full-time personnel.
At the June 2 council meeting, Troy Firefighter Andrew Vonderembse spoke out against the proposal, as did Platoon Commander Don Pemberton, against the addition of part-time employees to the full-time staff.
Vonderembse asked council if Boehringer received a “bonus” for budget cuts.
In an email response to Troy Daily News, city of Troy’s director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington said, “No one, including the fire chief, receives a bonus. There is no bonus system!”
Troy Fire Department full-time staff has also expressed concerns about the testing and certifications of part-time employees.
According to Titterington, staff follows Civil Service rules, which include a written test and physical agility test. They will also receive a medical exam, criminal history check, drug screen, CVSA, references are required and checked, and there is an interview process. The process to hire part-time taff will be similar to this. The 2014 General Fund budget includes $53,600 for training-related expenses.
“The testing and certification requirements are the same with two or 24 part-time employees,” Titterington said.”They are the same as full-time for FireFighter 2 (certified fire fighter and paramedics) and EMT requirements. Recertifications will be the responsibility of the part-time staff but they will be able to participate in all training provided to full-time staff. The logistics of where the part-time employees will be stationed, hiring terms, etc. are administrative functions that have not yet been finalized. This is the part of the process that we would like the input of the union employees.”
Another area of concern is the ability to track a part-time employee’s hours at other stations to limit fatigue and other safety concerns.
Titterington said the Troy Fire Department is allowed to ask a part-time employee how many other fire departments they are working for during the hiring process if Chief Boehringer requests the information.
“The employee is responsible for reporting hours to the chief, if the chief requests that information,” Titterington said. “The chief has the right to not only track the amount of outside employment for any or all employees but to restrict that outside work if he believes it is detracting from their full-time service to the Troy Fire Department.”
Titterington said, “The bottom line all along is to improve fire suppression readiness, maintain our full-time paramedic EMS response, and yet be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars. Here we propose a way to be efficient and cost effective, yet provide an unprecedented higher quality of service to the citizens and businesses we serve and are attacked with faulty misinformation.”