Council approves second deputy chief

There will be a full administrative team at Vernon’s fire department once again.

There will be a full administrative team at Vernon’s fire department once again.

City council has unanimously agreed to fill the vacant position of deputy chief of operations.

“There’s a need for it now  because there’s a lot going on,” said Coun. Jack Gilroy.

“There’s plans for the Predator Ridge hall and there’s a great relationship with the Landing hall. We need more than two management people just to do the paperwork.”

The position became vacant through a retirement in mid-2010, and council decided not to fill the job at that time because it believed sufficient department resources were available through the fire chief and the deputy chief of protection issues.

A request to hire a second deputy chief was also denied by council earlier this year as part of the 2011 budget process.

But it was the Skyline Manor apartment fire in February that forced some council members to reconsider their earlier decision.

“When you have a large fire, it puts so much stress on the two existing administrative positions,” said Coun. Shawn Lee.

“Plus, when we went to two positions, some of the department’s programs were cut back.”

Gilroy still stands by not filling the position in 2010.

“It saved us $92,000 and council could also see what direction it wanted to go,” he said.

Fire chief Keith Green hopes to have a new deputy on board by Sept. 1 and to spread out the workload.

“Right now, deputy chief (Lawrie) Skolrood has five portfolios to look after and it’s hard to focus on all of that,” said Green.

A maximum of $130,000 for wages and benefits has been budgeted for the deputy chief of operations.