- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Paris fire chief Ronnie Grooms is proposing to reorganize his department by doing away with the training officer position and creating a fourth deputy chief to handle those duties.
The Paris City Council will be asked Monday night to approve an ordinance to accomplish the change.
The training officer works an eight-hour shift, 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday, and his pay is actually slightly above that of a deputy fire chief.
“However, the position is not within the fire department chain of command structure and therefore has little supervisory authority,” Grooms said in an agenda briefing sheet included in the council members’ agenda packet.
“By abolishing the rank of training officer and adding another deputy chief position, the chain of command issue will be corrected, and greater flexibility will be provided in maintaining the duties assigned,” Grooms said.
Currently, the department’s deputy chiefs each supervise one of the three shifts, each of which works 24 hours on and 48 hours off — an average of about 56 hours a week.
With four deputy chiefs, Grooms would assign one of them to work an 8-to-5 Monday through Friday shift with training officer duties. The other three deputy chiefs would do what the Paris department’s deputy chiefs have historically done.
The deputy chief handling the training duties would receive additional “assignment pay more commensurate to the duties and responsibilities required.”
Grooms said the new structure would give him four individuals to choose from for the training duties instead of “having to promote whoever makes the highest on a promotional exam.”
“This also allows for better cross-training and reassignment of duties, should the need arise,” Grooms said.
Chapter 12 of the City of Paris code of ordinances would be amended to define the composition of the Paris Fire Department as the fire chief, assistant chief/fire marshal and 49 members classified as follows:
Vance Woodard, who has been the department’s training officer for the past several years and was fire marshal before that, has opted to switch to fire engineer.
The ordinance would become effective upon passage. With a “super-majority” approval of five or more of the seven council members, it would go into effect immediately.
Mayor AJ Hashmi is out of town and will miss Monday’s meeting.
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