Fire inspector could be civilian

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg City Council’s Personnel Committee on Tuesday will consider allowing the chief fire inspector to be a civilian.

The committee will meet 6:30 p.m. in the small conference room adjacent to council chambers in the Municipal Building, an hour before the regular meeting of the full council.

The chief fire inspector position is vacant after Capt. Tim Flinn returned to shift work. Flinn still reviews building plans and inspects structures while on duty, Mayor Bob Newell said.

“What I’m proposing is to change that ordinance to allow a qualified civilian to do that job as well as a fireman,” he said.

The fire inspector position makes more money an hour than a firefighter, but is only scheduled for a 40-hour work week.

“Most firemen don’t want to do it because they work 54 hours on the station; in other words, they make more money,” Newell said.

Whoever fills the chief fire inspector role would still have to be certified. Newell said that could open the job to retired firefighters. The position could also still be filled by a city firefighter.

“The civilian part is just an option,” Newell said.

The committee also will consider an ordinance allowing multiple firefighters working shifts to perform fire inspector duties. Placement in the job would depend on the outcome of a civil service exam, Newell said.

Several items are on the agenda for the full council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Council will vote on a resolution allowing Newell to enter an agreement with the West Virginia Division of Highways for $112,000 for a Safe Routes to Schools project at Fairplains Elementary School. The program is part of a national effort funded by the Federal Highways Administration to improve the safety of children as they walk or ride bicycles to school.

A public hearing will be held before the final reading of an ordinance establishing the rate for a new city parking lot at Seventh and Juliana streets at $1 an hour for a maximum of two hours. Motorists will pay at a kiosk at the lot that is still being set up.

Other agenda items include a couple of budget revisions and a temporary lifting of the restrictions on wine and beer in city parks for the Taste of Parkersburg, Point Park concerts and Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley chili cook-off.