Plain Township trustees April 18 authorized the addition of battalion chiefs to the Plain Township Fire Department.

Plain Township trustees April 18 authorized the addition of battalion chiefs to the Plain Township Fire Department.

Trustees David Ferguson and Dave Olmstead approved the resolution 2-0. Former Trustee Bud Zappitelli was appointed as the fiscal officer earlier this month and has not been replaced.

The resolution included the promotions of three captains and three lieutenants and the addition of part-time firefighters during the department's peak time of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Ferguson said the township would prefer to promote battalion chiefs from the department, but he said he also would be interested in reviewing candidates from other departments.

Fire Chief John Hoovler said promoting from within would save the township money. His hiring proposal projected no increase to the fire department budget in 2012 if three firefighters were promoted to battalion chiefs.

Hoovler said the fire department's budget could increase between $300,000 and $400,000 in 2012 if the township hires from outside the department. He told trustees the fire department has groomed and trained people for the positions.

Olmstead said he agreed with Ferguson that the department should at least consider other candidates who might be interested.

Hoovler said he typically sends a letter to internal candidates, giving them two weeks to respond. Firefighters are given 90 days to study for a test. After the test, interviews are scheduled.

Hoovler asked the trustees when he should advertise outside the department.

Ferguson said he should start the process for both internal and external candidates. The fire department then can determine if all meet the minimum qualifications for the job before proceeding with the process.

Trustees last month requested an updated cost estimate for the promotions of the captains and lieutenants and the addition of part-time firefighters. They would cost the department $92,031.94 in 2013, $131,929.54 in 2014 and $177,493.70 in 2014, Hoovler said.

He said the battalion chiefs also would need a vehicle, which could cost $35,000.

The township also must update its handbook to include the battalion chief positions. Olmstead said the township could update the handbook during the hiring process to eliminate delays.