MOUNT VERNON — In establishing a five-year strategic plan for the Mount Vernon Fire Department, Chief Chris Menapace has asked Mount Vernon City Council to consider some changes in personnel that would better meet the work demands of the department.
While addressing council members during a committee meeting Monday night, Menapace explained he would like to make the assistant fire chief position inactive and create a fire prevention officer that would serve the department 40 hours a week with regular eight-hour shifts Monday through Friday.
Legislation was introduced to council that would allow for three captains, three lieutenants, not more than 30 firefighters, paramedics and/or firefighter/paramedics, one EMS coordinator and one fire prevention officer. If approved, the legislation would remove the assistant chief position and add the fire prevention officer.
“I think where we have been and where we have developed, with my work ethic and with the training and operational speed of my three shift captains, I don’t see where we should spend $68,000 on an assistant fire chief,” said “I think two 40-hour a week fire chief positions, at this juncture of the Mount Vernon Fire Department, is concentrating on supervision when we don’t necessarily need it.”
Menapace said the creation of a fire safety officer would provide consistency for inspections for the businesses and schools throughout the city. Several firefighters at the department are trained to conduct fire safety inspections, which are currently completed as time permits. The fire safety officer, if approved, would place his efforts solely on those inspections making sure each one is conducted to the same standards.