EAST LIVERPOOL - The city will have its first new firefighter in many years next month when Jason Glista joins the department after successfully completing a round of testing and interviews.
He passed both the written exam and an agility test and was chosen from among eight successful candidates following interviews with fire Chief Bill Jones and Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell.
Glista is currently a part-time firefighter for Canfield, whose department is a combination of full- and part-time firemen.
As a condition of employment with East Liverpool, he must consider it his full-time department, according to Jones and Estell, who explained he could still serve on a part-time basis in Canfield or elsewhere, but if called for duty in the city, would be required to respond.
During his interview process, Glista indicated he plans on moving closer to the city, Jones said.
The new firefighter will be sworn in March 2 and assume his duties on March 5, eventually filling a vacancy to be created with the March 31 retirement of veteran firefighter Bill Miller.
With Miller's retirement and Glista's hiring, the department will remain at 12 firefighters plus Jones, but plans call for hiring six additional firefighters if Jones is successful in securing a SAFER grant.
The grant requires no matching funds from the city and will fund salary and benefits for firemen for two years, after which the city would be responsible for those costs.
Jones has also said he expects a "mass exodus" from the department over the next two to three years as firefighters reach retirement age, meaning positions will be opened up, allowing those hired with the grant to stay on.
The fire department union and city recently inked a new three-year contract that lowers the salary of new hires, as well as limits other benefits, which also is expected to free up money for the additional personnel.