Sunday, February 25, 2024

Manson Fire talks staffing, accepts oath

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MANSON – Finances and recruits were among many topics discussed during the regular Chelan County Fire District (CCFD) 5 Commissioner’s meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 12 in Manson. The meeting commenced with a financial report overview. The financial report showed approximately $83,000 to be carried over into 2018’s finances, resulting in a final budget for next year of $723,746.
Moving into the recruitment and retention segment of the night’s agenda, Chief Arnold Baker expressed satisfaction with the current volunteer and recruit applications received recently. One of the applicants already has his Firefighter One certification, along with EMT certifications he explained, adding that there are also two other solid applicants from within the community that he is hoping to bring in the Manson Fire family. Other changes to staffing will include an incentive compensation plan for firefighters who chose to advance to a fire officer or chief officer position. Assistant Fire Chief Kermit McClellan recently completed and passed the Fire Officer 1 certification, which in turn inspired at look at the district’s current compensation plan for the courses. “As we looked at the plan,” explained Baker, “we really didn’t have that (compensation) in the plan.” There was some compensation information available for Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications, but not much stating compensation for costs incurred in achieving the instructor’s or inspector’s certification required, in addition to hazmat certification, in order to test for any officer position. “Segments were tested out of all of those pieces,” he stated, “when they test for Fire Officer they throw a smattering from all the previous tests at you to make it really hard – and it was.” The plan is that every new candidate for officer classes will have to have the required instructor, inspector, and firefighter’s certifications before they can even get into class. “Anybody that follows behind me,” Baker explained, “I think they need the whole gamut to be an effective fire chief in the future,” he continued, explaining that from this point forward certain certifications will be required for advancement. “This is establishing that those people coming along are going to have to take the long route,” he concluded, “and they’re going to get compensated for each step on the long route because they have to do the pre-requisites.” Compensation for certification costs were approved by commissioners at that time.
In regard to paid staff, employees will begin to accumulate paid sick leave which is mandated for any employee under L&I. State law currently states that sick pay must be provided at a minimum rate of one hour per 40 hours worked. After evaluation of work schedule and pay rates, commissioners agreed at this rate, which would provide around two and a half hours paid sick leave for 96 hours worked in a four-week period.
At the county’s request, Manson Fire will be working to include the area fire plans as a layer within the county. By making the fire plan accessible to other department or districts within the county, mutual aid engines will have access to the plan ahead of time in an emergency situation, allowing for quicker response times. While there are currently some connectivity issues with the programs, it is hoped that once they’re resolved the plans will be available for viewing and distribution as needed.
Concluding the general agenda was the oath taken by Brian Harris, who ran unopposed for the seat in the latest round of elections.
Before closing the meeting, Assistant Chief McClellan announced that snowplow services will be available to the public again this winter, with a flat rate of $55 per job.
For more information on the meeting’s agenda, snowplow services or volunteering contact CCFD 5/Manson Fire at (509) 687-3222 or visit mansonfire.org.

Manson, fire, Brian Harris

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