By Sue Moore
A job posting for fire chief for the South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority was authorized by its board during the August meeting. In doing so, members also made provisions for a Fire Commissioner who would serve the board in an unpaid position. That person would possibly oversee the chief as the board’s representative and work directly with the board. Ideally, the Fire Commissioner would be an outside high-ranking officer in the firefighting profession, allowing the authority’s board to deal with policy issues and not day-to-day operations.
The job of fire chief would take on a decidedly different tone from a post that is currently operational. According to the description, more emphasis will be put on administration while still responding to fire calls. It would also include fire prevention activities in the South County area.
Another area of responsibility will be recruiting and retaining the department’s fire fighters. The numbers have been falling over the last few years. That has become a concern of the board, according to Randy Smith, board chair and Brady Township supervisor. Compensation was set at $15,000 to $20,000 base annual salary with additional payment for responding to demand calls, work detail and training.
Until the job is filled, the board’s Human Resource committee was appointed to ensure the management of the day-to-day operations of the Authority. The board has asked its advisory committee to review all applications and narrow them down to two or three recommendations to the board for interviews and a final decision.
In other action, Lt. Firefighter Eric Munn was appointed captain. The lieutenant rank was eliminated.