- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
The Paris City Council has accepted a recommendation by Paris fire chief Ronnie Grooms that the department training officer position be eliminated — those duties to be handled by a newly created fourth deputy chief.
At its meeting Monday night, the council voted 6-0 to amend the staffing levels for the fire department, effective immediately.
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, city manager John Godwin said.
“Over time, we need to consider some re-alignment to make things easier,” Godwin said.
Chapter 12 of the City of Paris code of ordinances was amended to define the composition of the Paris Fire Department as the fire chief, assistant chief/fire marshal and 49 members classified as follows:
4 deputy fire chiefs,
12 fire engineers,
6 firefighter drivers, and
Now is a good time to make the change, since the position of training officer is now vacant, the city manager said.
Vance Woodard, who has been the department’s training officer for the past several years and was fire marshbefore that, has opted to switch back to his former position as engineer.
Currently, the department’s deputy chiefs each supervise one of 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.
Godwin said he hasn’t signed off yet on Grooms’ proposal that assignment pay of $8,250 be made available to supplement the salary of whichever deputy chief is assigned the 8-to-5 Monday through Friday training officer responsibilities. The deputy chiefs accumulate more overtime on the 24 hours on, 48 hours off schedule.
“I wouldn’t necessarily assume that will happen because that will have to be approved by me, and I haven’t been convinced of that yet,” the city manager told the council before the vote.
Grooms said the new structure will 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.
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