Worthington News

Fire department reorganization

Assistant-chief position replaces three unfilled battalion-chief slots

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A new assistant fire chief, more consistent training and one fewer firefighter during the day are all parts of the 2013 reorganization of the Worthington Division of Fire.

Approved by Worthington City Council on March 4, the changes are expected to save the city about $150,000 a year, according to City Manager Matt Greeson.

Guy Kantak, a 31-year veteran of the division, will be the assistant fire chief.

For the past several years, Worthington has had three battalion chiefs instead of an assistant chief.

When Battalion Chiefs Bill Fields and Lew Butterfield retired in 2012, the positions were not filled on a permanent basis.

City Council agreed with Greeson that it would make more sense to eliminate the three battalion chief positions and replace them with one assistant chief position.

The battalion chiefs were on the one-day-on, two-days-off rotation, leaving only one administrator on duty at times during the workweek. That did not make sense for the city's largest department, which employs 37 full-time and 16 part-time staff members, Greeson said.

The new assistant chief will work a traditional 40-hour week.

"Kantak has great experience and has been involved in every aspect of our operations, which will be greatly beneficial as he performs this new role for the division," Chief Scott Highley said.

Staffing for the daytime fire equipment shift will be reduced from 11 to 10 under the new plan.

Part of the savings will pay to promote three firefighters to lieutenants and to contract with Columbus State Community College to provide more consistent training for the division, Greeson said.

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