Under new Boardman Fire Chief George Brown, overtime use by members of the Boardman Fire department has dropped dramatically.
“He deserves credit for that drop,” Fiscal Officer William Leicht said.
It was Mr. Leicht who first took notice in 2008 that overtime use in the fire department had become rampant under former Chief James Dorman,.
Chief Brown assumed his position in June.
Prior to assuming the office, Boardman fire-fighters had chewed-up some 1635 hours of overtime in the first five months of this year.
Brown has served as Boardman Fire Chief for five months now, and since taking office, Boardman fire-fighters have used just 274 hours of overtime.
“I don’t see any abuse here, do you,” Chief Brown said, adding “The facts are that our overtime budget is under the appropriated amount and is only $63,000 this year.”
Under Dorman, overtime use reached levels of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Chief Brown told The Boardman News “Overtime is normally connected to sick leave. We have had several injuries and illnesses---Those who were on light duty include one person who had a portion of his kidney removed, another has a serious medical condition, [and] as far as work-related injured on duty, one [fireman] had a shoulder injury, one had knee surgery and one was sent to several specialists to try and resolve the injury.
The new Boardman fire chief stakes a claim the Boardman Fire Department is understaffed, saying national standards call for 68 personnel and currently the Boardman Fire Department has 35 fire-fighters.
“Many shifts we have two personnel working a station and responding to medical calls, and especially obese patients has caused injuries to occur.”
Chief Brown said in an effort to reduce injuries caused by dealing with obese persons, “A second unit will be sent for support when needed.”