Volunteer firefighter CONTRACTS? Now I have heard it all!
Greenwood will hold a special meeting on Friday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m. to deliberate and possibly vote on contracts for several Greenwood Township positions, Planning Director, Fire Chief, Asst. Fire Chief, Safety /Training Officer, 911 Coordinator, and FD Administrator.
These part-time position contracts are to be three-years in length, contain a separation clause, guaranteed annual increases, PERA contributions, and an $1,800 a year firefighter pension to boot. This is for a volunteer fire department with no full-time positions. The firefighters in Greenwood are referred to as volunteers although there are no activities for which they are not paid. To pay folks is not a bad thing, just call it what it is, a paid fire department. The Assistant Chief, Pat Trancheff, just received $4,240 in paid on-call dollars above his salary.
Let’s look at the 911 Coordinator job description: Assign fire numbers to new properties/cabins, report same to the county, make changes and updates as necessary, and assign the maintenance person to produce and install the signs. According to the annual reports issued by the planning director, the workload would be equal to approximately twelve new requests each year. This job pays more than $6,500 per year, has a three-year contract, and will contribute to PERA. The G.I.S. specialist from St. Louis County that does this work for the county reports that each address assignment takes a total of five to fifteen minutes. Our current 911 Coordinator, Ms. Trancheff, stated at a recent board meeting she spent 34 hours each month. This, in my opinion, is just another example of the Greenwood Board gone wild.
What is the public benefit of the contracts? Too many of these government contracts provide protections and benefits for the part-time employees with little or no upside for those who pay the bill. If you did not believe it was time for change, maybe you will now.
It may be said that these folks are seeking protection from the wishes of the public to end local Planning and Zoning. Or, might it be that those in the cross hairs of forthcoming Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and OSHA decisions are seeking a shield to hide behind as those cases move forward.
Volunteers with contracts. Really, I did not see that in Webster’s.
Firefighter and EMR
Greenwood Twp., Minn.