Friday, November 12, 1999

Wyoming life squad, fire services likely to fuse


Full-time safety director would lead department

BY SARA J. BENNETT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WYOMING — The city's life squad and fire department likely will merge soon under the direction of a new full-time safety director.

        City Council is expected to pass an ordinance Monday that would create an emergency services department. The new department would encompass both Wyoming's 31-member life squad and 29-member volunteer fire department.

        Meanwhile, City Manager Bob Harrison will begin the search for a person to oversee the life squad and handle administrative duties for both EMS and fire divisions. Fire Chief John Benken would retain leadership of the fire department until he retires, said Mayor David Savage.

        The move brings Wyoming into line with most other Hamilton County communities, whichalready have combined EMS and fire operations. The PAR Group, a consulting firm from Lake Bluff, Ill., recommended the merger in September.

Fire chief to stay
        Some firefighters have expressed concern that the new safety director would strip Chief Benken of his job.

        Not the case, said Mr. Savage.

        “We're very sensitive to the fact that our present fire chief is in place and has been doing a very credible job. We don't want to do anything at this point to undermine his authority,” he said.

        “At some point in time, our fire chief will retire, and at that point, we will consider very strongly the final part of the recommendation, which is to make the safety director have full leadership for both sections.”

EMS leadership
        More than anything, Mr. Savage said, the merger would held address leadership struggles within Wyoming's life squad.

        The squad, which serves 23,376 people in Wyoming, Woodlawn, Lincoln Heights, Lockland and Arlington Heights, has changed leadership several times in recent years. The captain was fired last year, and the mostly volunteer squad now is run by co-captains.

        To help pay for the new safety director's salary, which Mr. Harrison said is still being determined, the PAR Group recommended Wyoming's life squad get more aggressive about billing and charge for some services that now are provided free.

        Some additional fees may be charged, Mr. Savage said. But most of the funds will come from shifting monies that are already being spent elsewhere.

       



Our children being robbed of innocence
School chief under fire steps down
Schools reopen with extra caution
Children's Hospital expansion passes halfway point
Hamilton reviving 'Little Chicago'
Little Chicago: An early chronology
Refusal of vaccine leads to controversy
A time to thank veterans
Bauer back home to honor veterans
Internet tax ban disputed
Legislator vows to press reform
Low cost kept unlicensed day care busy
NKU breaks ground for science center
Police panel to review Carpenter shooting
Police to target unbuckled children
Water main break closes Third Street
A Generation Jones quiz
Who is Generation Jones?
Enter our Dress A Turkey contest
For movers, no place like home
GET TO IT
Keb' Mo' a spellbinder
Accused bank robber caught
Bush hints Voinovich on list for running mate
Counting homeless is beyond numbers
Covington taking bids for stable
Deerfield trustee to run for state seat
Kids' raking leaves brings joy to needy
Ky. officials urge quality growth
Ludlow agonizes over sparse budget
Springdale honors past officials and volunteers
T-shirts relate messages of abuse victims
TRISTATE DIGEST
Truck ban puts 2 villages at odds
- Wyoming life squad, fire services likely to fuse