The Marysville Finance Committee heard proposals for several new positions to go into next year’s budget.
Among the new personnel, the committee chose to recommend to council are two new positions within the police and fire department.
Fire Chief Jay Riley made the case for a new firefighter to fill out the request he made last year.
In 2016, Riley requested three firefighters move from part to full-time to help knock down overtime hours going into this year, one for each shift. City council ended up giving Riley two out of those three workers.
Now, Riley is requesting the city add that third firefighter.
“I wanted to come back to say we would save money on overtime as a result,” Riley said. “That said, 2017 has been the worst year on history for us for medical leave. It’s been atrocious.”
He said the department had two people out for more than eight months. At one point, Riley had five employees out at the same time. Riley has two shifts that have 570 and 490 hours of overtime so far this year, respectively.
The shift that didn’t receive a full-time worker this year had 1,375 hours of overtime.
Emery said he’d like to fill that position before the end of this year. He said Riley plans on doing a workforce study at the end of next year on the value of newer positions.
Committee member Mark Reams said he’d like to see how the existing workers handle what will hopefully be a more normal 2018 before sanctioning another full-time worker.
“It just seems like we’re still waiting to see what we were told what was going to happen,” Reams said.
Riley disagreed, and said if those other two shifts hadn’t had that new firefighter, they would have had as many overtime hours as the third shift. He said the point of the new workers wasn’t to completely eliminate overtime, but to mitigate it.
According to Riley, the department’s runs have gone up 27 percent in the last five years.
“We talk about economic development and growth every council meeting,” Riley said. “We’re feeling the pain of that. The pain of that is, we’re having more runs.”
Police Chief Floyd Golden said the need for the records clerk position comes from strain put on current dispatchers who divide their time between the front desk, phone and records. The new employee would also act as a receptionist during the day, relieving that responsibility from the dispatchers.
“As we continue to grow and continue to get busier with case reports and technology – especially technology – we need to have someone who can copy our records, handle our records,” Golden said.
The police department is also planning to roll out body cameras to officers next year. The records clerk will handle the collection and redaction of those video files.
Deputy Chief Tony Brooks said when Columbus began giving its officers body cameras, the police there hired seven full-time workers to redact video. He said Marysville is “really lean” when it comes to personnel like this.
Golden said it would be a position that required a lot of detail and organization. He said the department wouldn’t hire anyone “off the street.”
“It would have to be someone who could maintain confidentiality,” he said.
City Manager Terry Emery said the department has needed someone to fill this position since he first came to the city in 2011.
“They’ve been very patient and I do think it needs some serious consideration,” he said.
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