NEWTON FALLS - Newton Falls Joint Fire District is wrapping up its year by catching up to state requirements for bookkeeping and firefighter training.
Financial consultant Joe Sosnowski announced at the Dec. 19 meeting that he finished the reconstruction of the district's financial records from 2010 and 2011. The Ohio Auditor of State declared the district's books unauditable at the beginning of October and gave the district 90 days to straighten out its records for a two-year audit.
The district will also be monitoring emergency calls as required by the state auditor to more appropriately split the costs for personnel and operating expenses between the emergency medical service and general funds.
According to Trustee Greg Dubos, the district had been splitting the cost equally between the two, but the auditor would like the division to more accurately reflect the fact that about 75 percent of calls are EMS-related. Board members adopted the policy at their Dec. 26 meeting.
The district also recently hired Jim Dorman, retired Boardman Township fire chief, as a consultant. The district approved the hire of Dorman at $25 per hour to help look at the district's policies in hopes of running smoother operations, particularly with the coverage of midday shifts.
At its Dec. 19 meeting, the board suspended four firefighters for not meeting the state-required 54 hours of training per year, which the district separates into 18 hours per year. Since the meeting, three of the firefighters have provided proof of training, some of which was done online, and their suspension was revoked, according to Dubos.
When you go
The Newton Falls Joint Fire District's organizational meeting will be 6 p.m. Jan. 10 at the fire station off Canal Street.
"It's inexcusable not to make those training requirements," said Newton Falls firefighter and paramedic Stephen Kisak.
Training sessions are offered at least two times a month, totaling to 72 hours a year, as well as training at various locations across the county and state.