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Fire chief must be full time

Posted Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 8:09 AM

The Mountain Home City Council is in the process of debating how -- and who -- to replace retired Fire Chief Phil Gridley.

Phil retired this spring. He'd given better than a year of advance warning. Somehow, the city council still can't figure out what it wants to do, or who it wants to give the job to. The council appears to have abandoned its national search for a replacement, meaning the next fire chief is likely to be someone on the force now. There's a small number of firemen there who have the training, experience, administrative skills and force of personality to be a good fire chief.

A committee has been formed to help narrow all the candidates down to a small number that the mayor will recommend to the council. There are believed to be at least two good, leading candidates -- Alan Roberts and Alan Bermensolo.

Bermensolo is currently serving as the interim part-time fire chief until the council can make up its mind what to do.

Either of the two men we mentioned above can do the job and do it well. But hidden in the ongoing debate within city hall is whether or not the fire chief should be a full-time position, or if it should fall back on being a part-time position.

This paper advocated at the time Phil was hired, well over a decade ago, that the city had grown to the point that it needed a full-time chief. A full-time chief can do more inspections, outreach, basic maintenance of equipment (later, the council decided the chief needed a full-time employee to help him with that work), and most importantly, earn the certifications necessary to conduct top-quality training.

Phil took a very good volunteer fire department and turned it into one we'd stack up against any department --volunteer or full time -- anywhere in the state. These guys (and woman) are very, very good. The residents of this town enjoy a fire rating that simply can't get any better unless we had a completely full-time fire department. That rating keeps your insurance costs down. A full-time fire chief did all that.

If it was necessary, during the days of Mayor Don Etter, to have a full-time fire chief then, it is even more necessary now that the size of this town has nearly doubled. And it won't be getting smaller. To regress to a part-time chief, even one who might put in a lot more hours than called for, would be a strategic error of major proportions on the part of the city council. They shouldn't even consider it.

Whomever they choose, the appointment MUST be to a full-time position.

-- Kelly Everitt

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Since they are going to put in a person

With a full time business- I assume the

position will be part time.

This is probably a good way to go. And

have an assistant at the station.

In City hall this is a done deal.

-- Posted by yniashi on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 9:32 PM

I'm curious. I just finished reading the proposed agenda for the October 9th City Council Meeting and noticed Item Two is "Approve Mayor's Recommended Dept Head Appointment of Alan Bermensolo as Fire Chief." Directly below that is "SWEARING IN - Alan Bermensolo as Fire Chief". So apparently the mayor already knows the council will approve his recommendation, but...what if they don't? Oh, who am I kidding, it was a foregone conclusion that anyone could see. All the applications were eye candy and the decision had been made back in March...

-- Posted by Ramjett on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 5:08 PM

Every wage of the City, County, etc should e published so, in case of a rediculous wage- it could be challenged.

-- Posted by yniashi on Sun, Sep 30, 2012, at 9:21 PM

The city should just find another person named Gridley to give the salary to. A full time position in a city this size is just a GIFT to the next chief. $80,000.00 a year plus benefits for a city of 11,000 and a volunteer force. Cronyism at its best,I'm sure the pay for the part-timer will be 60k plus benefits.

Its just tax dollars!

-- Posted by gmoney on Fri, Sep 28, 2012, at 5:11 PM

Both of the firemen mentioned have

their own business. Maybe we do only

a part time chief. I am not sure that the

population is greater now than it was when

Phil Grifley became a full time chief.

-- Posted by yniashi on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 10:16 PM

I'm curious. How would a part-time fire chief supervise and evaluate the performance of a full-time assistant? Just one more reason the Fire Chief position needs to be fulltime.

I'm curious. Exactly what are the council's reason(s) for dragging their collective feet on the replacement, given the far in advance notice Chief Gridley gave the City of Mountain Home.

I'm curious. Since this was an "Editorial", why didn't our Editor tell us who he thinks the City should make Fulltime Chief?

Or may he did...

I'm curious. Who should be fulltime Chief? Someone with a proven history of responding to incidents in the county and city?

-- Posted by Ramjett on Thu, Sep 27, 2012, at 12:14 PM

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