PRINCETON — Princeton Fire Territory trustees didn’t act Thursday on a resolution directing the Princeton Clerk-Treasurer to pay previously denied overtime pay in cases where grievances have been filed by firefighters.
The special session was called in part to consider such a resolution, after discussion last month regarding how to help resolve the grievances regarding how overtime pay was calculated. Firefighters told the board in April that no written information was given ahead of time to explain why or how the overtime calculation was determined.
While trustees asked attorney Daniel Moon last month to draft a resolution instructing the Princeton Clerk-Treasurer’s office to pay previously denied overtime in cases where a grievance has been filed, Moon said negotiations are ongoing to come to some type of agreement resolving the issue.
Moon said he had no resolution to present to the board Thursday, but they could table the issue and or bring it back up at some point in the future. “At this point, the initial negotiations were very positive,” he told the board. “It’s up to you all on how you want to proceed,” he noted, “But in my eyes, a resolution isn’t necessary.”
Some board members wanted action to quickly resolve the matter, but Moon explained, “The problem with a resolution is the Princeton Fire Territory is requesting the Princeton Clerk-Treasurer to pay it, but they do not have the authority to enforce it,” he said. “But I think negotiations are the best way to move forward right now.”
Members agreed to let the proposed resolution matter rest.
The board unanimously agreed to hire two new firefighters to fill vacancies on the department, and asked PFT Chief Mike Pflug to recommend two more reserve firefighters.
The board authorized Pflug to offer a full-time firefighting position to Jason Rhodes of Haubstadt, who presently serves as a firefighter in Owensboro, Kentucky, and to Craig Minor of Evansville, who is employed with Scott Township fire department.
Pflug said the two men were the top candidates among six candidates interviewed by him and the PFT shift officers, from a pool of applicants. The remaining applicants will be retained on file for consideration for 18 months if future openings happen.
Pflug said both of the recommended candidates have all required certification.
If they accept the offer, they could begin service after being approved through the Public Employee Retirement Fund.
During the discussion, Mayor Greg Wright asked whether the PFT conducts age-appropriate physical tests for employees. Pflug said he was contacted by a company offering to conduct testing for $258 per person. Pflug said the Occupational Health and Safety Administration recommends such testing to assure people are healthy enough to do the job, but the testing is not required.
Pflug said if someone was found not physically fit for duty, the fire territory would be required to give them time to comply.
“I don’t foresee anyone on the department who couldn’t pass a physical at this point,” Pflug added.
Discussing potential reserve officers, Pflug noted that retired firefighter Tim Speedy, a former chief of the department, has agreed to serve as a reserve officer and continue to perform fire investigations.