New Fire Chief Addresses Staff Shortages and Hiring Policies
Campbell County Fire Chief Jeff Bender wasn’t the only newcomer at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Joint Powers Fire Board. It was also the first official meeting for two new board members.
Jeff Boardroom and Trent Jones were appointed to represent Campbell County on the board at the commissioner’s July 2 meeting. Both will serve a three-year term ending in 2022.
Chief Bender told the board that J.R. Fox, now Division Chief, is showing him the ropes and he’s getting up to speed on the inner workings of the department.
Bender said in his short time with the department, he’s already noticed the staffing shortfall the board discussed at last month’s meeting. When resources are deployed for instances like the July 1 tank battery fire, there was some strain in covering the other calls for service that came in simultaneously.
One of his first actions as Chief is to update firefighter eligibility requirements that, Bender said, are out of date. A major change will be to test applicants even when there are no open positions, thus creating a hiring list from which to draw firefighters as needed.
Eligibility for applicants who have already tested would be valid for one year.
Bender presented the board with the new proposed policy, which they will vote on at next month’s meeting.
Bender will be officially sworn in tonight at 7 p.m. at the Alan Mickelson Fire Training Center located at 701 Larch St.