Emily Stone and Jeremy Gless were hired as full-time Brookfield firefighters/paramedics on April 1.

Emily Stone and Jeremy Gless were hired as full-time Brookfield firefighters/paramedics on April 1.

Brookfield trustees have endorsed Fire Chief David Masirovits’ plan to accelerate the hiring process outlined in the union contract by hiring two full-time firefighters/paramedics.

The trustees on April 1 hired Jeremy Gless, who will start April 16, and Emily Stone, who will start April 17. Masirovits has flexibility in setting their starting salaries and has set Gless’ salary at 95 percent of a fully tenured firefighter – $49,563 – and Stone’s salary at 90 percent, $46,955. The hirings are contingent upon Gless and Stone passing physicals, a physical agility test and background investigations. Their employment will be probationary for one year. 

Gless has worked for the department on a part-time basis since May 2019, and Stone since May 2021.

“They work for us already,” Masirovits said. “We know what their capabilities are.”

Masirovits said there was one other applicant, but the applicant did not meet the qualifications for the position.

Under the union contract, the fire department was to hire one full-time firefighter each year of the three-year pact, provided the hirings were financially sustainable. The department hired one person in 2023, but Masirovits asked to hire two this year instead of one this year and one in 2025.

The hirings bring the full-time complement to 10, including the chief. Barring vacations and other days off, there will be at least three firefighters working every shift, Masirovits said.

The gold standard is to have five people work every shift, but that relies on part-timers, and the department, like many in the area, has had trouble finding and retaining part-time help. Township Fiscal Officer Dena McMullin said the number of part-timers has fallen from 28 to 10 in eight years.

Part-time employees can work for the department 1,500 hours a year, or about 28 a week, under a federal rule.

“That’s doing some funky things to our staffing,” such as having people work partial shifts, said Capt. Nick Cresanto.

The 1,500-hour rule is “absolutely destroying us,” Masirovits said.

Trustee Dan Suttles said, as part of his vote in favor of the plan, “I would like an extra effort to get that station in Masury open on a more regular basis,” referring to Station 51 at Route 82, Addison Road and Broadway Avenue. The main station, Station 18, is on Route 7 in Brookfield.

Station 51 was closed 46 out of 62 shifts in March, 46 out of 58 shifts in February and 39 out of 62 shifts in January.

If there are at least four people working on a shift, two work from Station 18 and two from Station 51, Masirovits said. When there are three or fewer people on, everyone works out of Station 51.

Suttles argued that Station 51, which is smaller and has less equipment, is closer to a majority of Brookfield’s population.

“If I had my way, that would be our main fire station,” Suttles said.

Masirovits said he wants Station 51 open as often as can be.

“This will help, when there’s not somebody off,” he said of the hirings.

McMullin said the fire budget can handle the additional cost. Last year, only $519,000 out of a budgeted $690,000 was spent for salaries in the fire district fund, and $141,839 out of $180,000 from the ambulance and emergency services fund. In 2024, $690,000 was allocated for salaries in the fire fund and $250,000 in the ambulance fund. 

@ @ @
Please help support NEWS On the Green’s work:
Click here:  http://news-on-the-green.fundjournalism.org/news-on-the-green-page-1