Swanton Village Council at a special meeting last week made several personnel moves as the new Swanton Fire Chief stressed the need for increased staffing.
Chief Ed Dziengelewski gave Council a copy of June and July schedules in the Fire and Rescue Division with numerous open shifts highlighted.
“Guys, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. I did 160 hours my first two weeks,” said Dziengelewski. “And a lot of that was covering shifts plus working my normal every day.”
He said he has covered 3-4 shifts per week that are open because the Fire and Rescue Division is short handed.
“Unfortunately, I think this is going to be a problem going forward, so the best we can do is try to hire as we can get more to have vacation times covered. That’s another big thing right now. Everyone who is full time is sitting on vacation time.”
He added it’s a huge issue that the division does not have enough people to cover vacations.
The biggest deficit right now is with paramedics and EMS. “Unfortunately right now medics are hard to find,” said Dziengelewski. “People who are paying more money than us can’t find medics right now.”
Finance Director Jason Vasko said the department is already over its overtime budget for the year. “Which is part of the reason we’re looking to bring these people into full-time as well as hire these additional people.”
He added that there is no budget concern with last week’s hirings. “From a payroll standpoint, the fire department and EMS are in great shape, it’s everything else that our budget’s a little bit tight on.”
Three of the personnel items approved on June 6 involved current employees changing from part-time to full-time.
The hiring of Brian Groves, Ashley Terry, and Colin Fessenden as full-time members of the Fire and Rescue Division were approved by a vote of 5-0. The change to full-time was effective June 12.
Council also approved four new part-time employees for the Fire and Rescue Division. They were Randall Trausch, Jillian Bozarth, Jayme Large, and Nicholas Rohrs.
Their hirings were effective June 6 and are contingent on them agreeing to work a minimum of 24 hours per month.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010