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Three decline fire chief job

Three Maumelle firefighters who were finalists for a newly created Division Fire Chief’s job have all turned down the position.

Maumelle Fire Chief George Glenn told the Civil Service Commission Monday night that each of the top three candidates had withdrawn their applications.

After a brief discussion, commission member Billy Herrington moved and the other commissioners unanimously approved re-advertising the position and opening it up for a nation-wide search.

Glenn said after the meeting that he still hoped one of the existing Maumelle firefighters would apply for the job.

This position is a management slot that also serves as the training officer for the department, he said.

Glenn said Maumelle’s 24 firefighters serve 24 hours on duty then 48 off, in three eight-man shifts.

He said each finalist cited personal reasons for withdrawing their names but he did confirm that many firefighters work off-duty jobs during that 48-hour off-duty period.

Glenn wouldn’t comment on reports that the three withdrew when they discovered they’d have to give up their off-duty jobs because the new position is a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job five days a week.

But Vernon James, Maumelle’s Director of Human Resources said each of the three existing Maumelle Fire Captains — Capt. Shane Holmes, Capt. Scott Eaton and Capt. Michael Cossey cited different reasons in their withdrawal letter each submitted but basically it came down to having to give up a part-time second job.

James said the Chief’s job is mostly an administrative position that also serves as the department’s training officer. As such it is an exempt position expected to work forty-hour weeks which eliminates most off-duty jobs but it also eliminates overtime pay.

Current firefighters earn a significant amount of money working overtime hours and most were unwilling to give up both the overtime and the lucrative second job income, both Glenn and James said.

James said the Department Chief’s job started at a beginning salary of $59,434 but they could eventually earn the maximum of $70,654 plus retirement and fringe benefits.

Officials said many of the firefighters work as emergency medical technicians with Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services utilizing the extensive medical training they received as firefighters in Maumelle.

Glenn said Fire Marshal Chief John Payne is also a department head and in a similar position to the newly created slot..

According to city human resources director James, the new position was approved during last fall’s budget meetings and with the annual salary and fringe benefits the total amount budgeted was around $80,000 a year.

Initially the job was only advertised and open to existing Maumelle firefighters and three men took the test and were ranked the top three candidates by the Civil Service Commission.

Under city guidelines, Glenn could have chosen any one of the three for the position.

Maumelle police chief Sam Williams said many of the city’s police officers also work off-duty jobs, mostly now at special events such as those at the Park on the River and at other venues. He said Lake Liquor Store did hire several off-duty officers but stopped the practice recently.

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