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Township Committee Approves Hire of New Firefighter

A Springfield Fire Department Senior Captain will officially retire in June.

The Springfield Township Committee approved the hiring of a new firefighter at Tuesday evening's meeting.

As a Springfield Senior Fire Captain will retire at the end of January and come off the books in June, the department asked the committee to approve the hiring of a new member who, most likely, will be an eligible current volunteer firefighter. 

Responding to a question from Committeeman Jerry Fernandez, Springfield Fire Chief James Sanford explained that with the hiring of a new firefighter and the promotion of another to the level of captain, the department would come in at at least $21,000 under the previous year following the current captain's retirement.

Fernandez also asked Sanford his opinion on current staffing levels. The chief said he continues to apply for federal grants to bolster the department. Sanford said he believes a six-man shift would represent a "reasonable number." The department is currently operating with five-man shifts. Ideally, Sanford said he favors the TriData Report, which recommends eight-man shifts.

Committeeman David Barnett asked Township Administrator Anthony Cancro to offer his opinion. Cancro said he gives Sanford "a lot of credit" for pursuing grants and while he recommends the hiring of a firefighter at this time, he does not advise hiring above current levels. 

Committeeman Ziad Andrew Shehady asked Sanford to outline the hiring process. Sanford said the department will follow the town ordinance for processing a new hire, which requires the candidate to undergo drug-, psychological- and medical testing. Additionally, the records of the prospective hire will be reviewed. 

Cancro explained that the candidate would then receive a letter of conditional employment pending the successful completion of all tests.

The appointment of a new captain is still being discussed by the public safety committee, Sanford explained.  

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