The Budget is on the forefront of news this week. City Council is trying to hone in on what will be the cuts for the future year. I am sure many of you remember we lost 6 or 9 positions last year (still unclear on the number). This year we already stand to lose 6 according to the Roanoke Times. Those 6 were once told they were going to take from Clearbrook and move to Station 8 to put Medic 8 in service. It will be interesting to see what happens. You can read the Roanoke Times article here.
Nine firefighters will retire this year from the Roanoke Fire EMS Department. The retirements stem from an incentive to leave before December 1st after giving notice by March 16th. The incentive comes just in time to beat the increase in health care next year which ranges from $100 to $200 per month depending on the health care plan. Forty-Six Roanoke City employees took advantage of the retirement incentive. Read more abou the retirements here. Congratulations to those who will be retiring. Estimates are that the guys leaving have around 230-250 years of service. I look forward to attending some of the retirement parties!
The City Council voted to suspend the 457 contribution paid by the City effective April 1st. The contribution was a match up to $25 per paycheck. I am not sure how many employees Roanoke City has, but based on 1200 if everyone took advantage of the match, Roanoke City will save 780k each year or 30k per period the match is suspended. The suspension was put in place to help Roanoke City cover a budget deficit this fiscal year. Hopefully, they will add it into the budget for next year. The news of the suspension was emailed out via City email.
Roanoke Fire EMS Department Recruit Class #15 celebrates 10 years today March 1, 2009. We began recruit school on March 1, 1999. It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years on the job.
Right to left front row: Captain Phil Dillon*, FF Todd Reighley, Beth Norwood, FF Betty Totten (Salem), B.T. Butler, Lt. Rhett Fleitz, Lt. Kelcey Branch, FF Barry Kincer, Battalion Chief Roger Manuel*, Captain R.T. Flora*, ?*, Captain Chris Trussler*, Lt. Jeremy Bennington, 1st Lt. Doug Hurd, Sport Hayden, Lt. Travis Simmons, Lt. Mac Craft, Dennis Duncan, Charles Williams, Lt. Kevin Bradbury, 1st. Lt. Brian Riddle*. An asterisks (*) indicates an instructor and I cannot figure out who is next to Captain Flora. All individuals are notated with their current rank/position. No rank/position indicates that the person no longer works for Roanoke City. All of the individuals were hired by Roanoke Fire EMS with the exception of Betty Totten who works for Salem.
Where are they now? Let me give you a rundown of where the ones who left are now for the ones I know.
- Beth Norwood married Roanoke FF/PM Rob Joyner and I believe is an RN.
- B.T. Butler works for TSA at the Roanoke Regional Airport.
- Sport Hayden works for the Henrico Division of Fire in Henrico County, VA.
- Dennis Duncan is in school to become a Physicians Assistant (PA).
- Charles Williams left the department.
Congratulations to all who are still here and best wishes to all those who have left. Most of them still keep in touch. Our class was 6 days a week for 12 weeks. It was held at the old Administration at the Jefferson center. Most of our PT was done at Victory Stadium. It sucked but we had a blast. BC Manuel was the 1st Lt. of Training at the time and Capt. Dillon was the Lt. in training at the time. 1st Lt. Riddle and 1st Lt. Plaza were in training at the time as well and Crosby Grindle was the BC of Training.
Soon after posting about the last word I got on employment, I learned that it might change. Yesterday, official word came out that promotions would be put on hold until the fall of 2009. Hiring would also be put on hold until Fall/Winter of 2009/2010.
All I can say to potential firefighter candidates is keep your head up and focus on hiring at the end of this year.
The Roanoke Fire EMS Department is currently hiring. You may view the various openings at VirginiaFireEMSJobs.com. The last word I got was that we will be having a recruit school starting in July ’09. This may change, or may have already changed, depending on the budget. The number of recruits depends solely on how many retire. Roanoke City has offered an incentive to those who declare their intention to retire between July 1 and December 1 of this year. They must give notice by March 13th I believe. There are rumors of anywhere from 4-15 retirees this year.