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Department gets new firefighters, not trucks

January 8, 2013
Morning Journal News

LACROFT - Issues from 2012 provided the bulk of discussion as the Liverpool Township Board of Trustees held its first meeting of 2013 on Monday evening.

Following an executive session, new board chairman Steve Betteridge announced that a special meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss personnel matters related to the search for a new chief of police. Former police chief Charles Burgess retired from Liverpool Township Police last December.

Acting township police Chief Justin Wright delivered reports both for the month of December and for 2012. The year's review included a murder/suicide that claimed the lives of Karen E. Wolfe and Michael W. Wolfe Sr. at the Tri-State Free Methodist Family Campgrounds on March 30, the township's first homicide since 2006.

Fire Chief Mike Bahen also delivered a year-in-review report to trustees. He requested new pairs of bunker pants and boots, as well as having the firefighters' oxygen tanks static-tested, all of which was approved. Bahen then asked trustees if they had come to a decision on a proposal he presented last November requesting the purchase of two new mini-pumper trucks for the department. The Ford F550-based Pierce trucks would replace a pair of aging units that date back to 1985 and 1976, respectively.

"It was a 30-day proposal," Bahen said. "We're going on two months now." He also said that he has been in contact with a sales representative from Finley Fire Equipment in McConnelsville, who has assured him that a previously-negotiated price of $178,000 each is still valid.

Township trustee Karl "Butch" Kontnier asked if a down payment would be required, as is the common practice when ordering municipal vehicles, such as police cruisers. "No, sir," Bahen replied. "We don't have to put a dime down until the trucks are actually delivered." Kontnier said this differed from his experience in ordering the vehicles, where state law required some percentage of the purchase price down, followed by the remaining payments over numerous years. Bahen stated that the situation, as he understood it, was a $50,000 payment per truck on delivery, with the balance of payments not commencing until one year after the delivery date.

Kontnier pledged to study the proposal left with trustees and to come to a decision soon. After Bahen stated again that the proposal from Finley Fire was delivered two months ago, Kontnier replied, "Maybe somebody moved before we were ready."

In other business:

* Chief Bahen said that five new volunteer firefighters, having completed their 36-hour courses, had passed their final written exams that evening and were ready for active duty.

* Betteridge, who serves as liaison between the township and the county for drug testing of police officers, said that a new paperless filing and communication system was being instituted. With drug tests administered to new hires and on a random basis to existing officers, Betteridge is concerned that such information being shared through email could compromise the officers' privacy. He said that he will consult with township solicitor Andy Beech on the details of the matter.

* Trustees passed ordinance naming members to the township's Volunteer Firefighter Dependents Fund board of trustees for 2013, including Betteridge, township trustee Keith Burke, Clifford Utt, Dave Ward and Ray Talbott.



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