The Plain Township trustees intended to hire only two of the four full-time firefighter candidates they interviewed March 19 -- but they ended up hiring all four.
"As we looked at our current and near-term needs for the fire department, we have multiple part-time employees as well (as full-time), and each of these candidates had amazing qualifications," said Trustee Dave Olmstead. "We thought it would be in the best interest of the township to reduce the part-time staff and take advantage of each of their talents."
The firefighters were chosen from 51 applicants who went through a series of physical and written tests, said fire Chief John Hoovler.
Assistant Chief Jack Rupp said the candidates were interviewed by department officers and the two chiefs before the list was narrowed to 11. All 11 then passed an agility test given March 17.
Of the 11, four were chosen to be interviewed by the trustees.
The four new full-time firefighters are: Adam Brandt, 31, of Lancaster; Chris Durst, 31, of Millersburg; Adam Noble, 32, of Johnstown; and Nick Yutzy, 24, of Lancaster.
All four men have worked as part-timers at the Plain Township Fire Department for three to five years.
Hoovler said they will earn $17.72 per hour and will be eligible for benefits. Their employment is contingent on the completion of successful background checks.
Hoovler said the department had two full-time firefighters resign, which is why the trustees started the hiring process.
Before the four were hired as full-timers, the department had 31 full-time firefighters and 21 part-timers, operating with 11 full-time firefighters per shift.
Hoovler said township officials had planned to hire at least three more part-time firefighters. Olmstead said they still may hire more part-timers but the department will not have to use as many part-time firefighters per shift because it will have 35 full-time firefighters.
Hoovler said he has enough in the 2014 budget to cover the four firefighters' salaries.
"The incremental cost for the full-timers is more but we're also aware that other departments were interested in hiring part-time candidates," Olmstead said. "Given that we had the opportunity, and all four were very qualified, this prevents us from losing their talents."