Bazetta approves assistant fire chief

BAZETTA – After being badgered with questions on the position by residents during the public comment section of their public meeting, trustees emerged from executive session to appoint Capt. Tom Rink as the township’s new assistant fire chief Monday night.

“I think it will benefit Bazetta Township tremendously,” said Fire Chief Dennis Lewis.

With a two-to-one vote of approval by trustees, Rink will begin the new position effective Sunday, at the start of a new pay period. Rink has been working full time with the department since 1995.

Lewis said the two have known each other since they were 16 years old and served as part-time firefighters together. Lewis took a full-time position in 1989.

Reasoning for the new position – one that has remained vacant for at least a decade – includes freeing up time for Lewis to work on planning the new combined fire station and having a replacement for Lewis should he take an extended amount of time off work.

Trustees previously met with the local firefighters’ union to discuss the possible position and determine the terms of agreement. Rink will have a base wage of $57,324.80 and will remain a part of collective bargaining.

He will, however, be eliminated from the overtime rotation and only allowed overtime hours if it is approved by the chief. Rink’s position will require him to have knowledge in all the firefighting positions and able to take on all the responsibilities of the chief should Lewis be absent.

“I think it will allow me to focus on the new construction (of businesses) and the new fire station,” Lewis said.

A new combined fire station, which will be located at the Southern end of Mosquito Creek Reservoir, is still in the beginning phases of construction.

Lewis said they are working on getting the sewer and water lines set, as well as getting an emergency exit road approved. He said if all goes as planned, they will be putting bids in on the new building early next year.

Lewis said the captain position that Rink will leave empty will be filled by Sept. 7 and at that time they will likely hold a ceremony for the new position appointees. While the captain position will be filled internally, the department will not take on an additional firefighter, but will rather use part timer to fill any needed shifts.