SIDNEY — The Civil Service Commission certified the scores and ranking of the two Sidney assistant fire chiefs up for the vacant deputy fire chief position and candidates of the Sidney police officer position Monday afternoon.
The Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services has been in the process of making several position changes due the recent retirement of Deputy Fire Chief Cameron Haller, the sudden passing of Lt. Tony McLain last November, and two other predicted retirements over the next year. Sidney Police Department (SPD) is adding to its team of officers.
Commission members, including Commission Chair Karl Bemus, Joyce Goubeaux and John Schmidt, and Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones, Police Chief Will Balling and Human Resources Manager Vickie Allen, immediately went into an executive session after approving the March meeting’s minutes. Upon emerging from the session, the commission certified the scores and ranking of the police officer candidates and the two assistant fire chiefs who tested.
In order to allow time for the city of Sidney to notify and present an offer to the higher scoring assistant fire chief, there will be a follow up story with the name of the newly promoted deputy fire chief in Wednesday’s paper.
Balling will present a conditional offer of employment to one of the eight individuals who tested for the police officer position within the next week. He said after the candidate accepts the conditional offer, that person still must pass post-employment background and physical testing, polygraphs a drug test and interviews before they can start with SPD.
In other business, Balling asked commission members for their stance on recruiting new candidates for the police and fire departments through the “lateral transfer” process from other Ohio departments. He said the idea came about due to the police department’s struggle to obtain a greater number of quality, interested candidates.
When asked how the current officers felt about it, he said it would not be an issue as long as their seniority wasn’t challenged. He admitted it will take a lot of work for Jones, Allen and himself to figure out some aspects such as seniority, and benefits for those coming from other departments. Allen also noted Sidney’s City Charter would need to be changed to allow for this type of recruitment. After a brief discussion ensued on the topic, commission members agreed that it would be worth looking into and exploring further.
Allen also told the commission the next meeting will be held sometime in May to certify the test results for the assistant fire chief.
After internal promotions are awarded at Sidney Fire, there will be two immediate vacancies among the three fire crews that work every third day. All three assistant chiefs were eligible to apply for the deputy fire position, which leaves a vacant assist chief position. All five of the lieutenants are eligible to apply for the empty assistant chief position. Thirteen of the remaining firefighters were eligible to apply for the lieutenant position, of which Ryan Heitman was promoted to on April 8. These promotions will leave two firefighter vacancies that need to be filled. Then later in the year, after two others retire, two more firefighters will need to be added.
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