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Brodhead council OKs oversight panel

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Tere Dunlap/The Monroe Times
August 10, 2010
— The Brodhead City Council on Monday approved a five-member committee to oversee the city's fire department after complaints surfaced from firefighters about the fire chief.

The need for a liaison—one person who would meet with fire department personnel regularly to oversee new policy implementation—is expected to be discussed when the committee meets for the first time.


No date has yet been set for the first meeting.


The plan to institute an oversight committee and a liaison comes after about six firefighters made complaints about Fire Chief Jay Bohan's leadership in July.


Doug Zettle, Joella Miller, Michael Moore, Marty Brandenburg and Phil Rundle were recommended for the committee and approved unanimously by the council, following a closed meeting of the city's personnel committee and Mayor Doug Pinnow on Monday. The session lasted about 20 minutes.


Shelly Kuhl, chairman of the personnel committee, asked Pinnow to look into the necessity of adding two more members to the committee.


"Two (members) live in the fire district, but not in the city limits," she said in an interview after the meeting. "There are questions whether we need this (committee) to vote on anything. If so, we need more than three (city) members."


The council determined July 26 to appoint a liaison that will meet with fire department personnel and assure that the fire department meets specific goals.


The council received recommendations from Tom Purdy of the Development Group, which the city hired to look at issues the firefighters brought to the council's attention. The council did not adopt Purdy's recommendations exactly as presented but did consider the ideas in the report, according to Kuhl.


The liaison will be charged with reviewing the fire department job descriptions for all department personnel by Sept. 1, creating a grievance policy by Sept. 1 and enacting a standard operating procedure for the department 60 to 90 days from July 26. The fire department must also create a policy and procedures manual by Dec. 31.


Bohan said the job descriptions were finished and ready for review. Many drafts for policies and procedures were also ready, he added.


"We've been working on this since April," he said.


The council held a meeting July 20 to hear from firefighters, fire department officers and trustees, the city's personnel committee and township board chairmen.


After about three and a half hours in closed session, the council voted unanimously to reappoint Bohan, the department's first full-time fire chief.


Bohan's contract was to expire July 29. His one-year contract allows him to continue as chief until July 27, 2011. He has the only full-time paid position within the department.


Bohan was fire chief at St. John's University in Minnesota before coming to Brodhead two years ago.



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