GREENWOOD TWP- Three now-former fire department members, Rick Worringer, Jet Galonski, and David Fazio, announced their intention to retire from the service during public comment this week. All three …
GREENWOOD TWP- Three now-former fire department members, Rick Worringer, Jet Galonski, and David Fazio, announced their intention to retire from the service during public comment this week.
All three were seeking to have their fire department pension forms signed by Fire Chief Jeff Maus, who said he would sign on the forms once he was sure the information on start dates was correct.
The board also passed a motion stating that all department gear from former members must be returned before the forms are completed. Some of the gear includes radios and pagers that are valued at over $3,000. The board did not note which members had not turned in their gear, but after the meeting both Worringer and Galonski had their forms signed by Maus. Fazio did not stay until the end of the meeting.
The members, who the township determined had “voluntarily quit” from the department earlier this year after joining a pressure campaign to have Maus removed as chief, did have the option of rejoining the department after six months.
Seven of the ten members who joined that effort had been removed as employees of the department, but three remained on the rolls after affirming they wanted to remain part of the department.
At Tuesday’s meeting, former fire department member Rod Politano also aired some of his concerns and asked that the town board work with the fire department members.
“Please try to get this thing resolved,” he said. He asked if the board would consider allowing department members to choose their own assistant chief. The board told him that this position is considered open until filled, and department members are encouraged to apply. They also told him that the town board, as the employer, is ultimately responsible for the hiring decision.
Former board member Mike Ralston asked for an update on the current fire department roster. Maus said they have seven active members, some who have completed their required firefighter I and II training, and some who still have some classes remaining. Maus added that many rural departments now have low roster numbers, and that mutual aid is standard procedure for active fire scenes. He said nine area departments, including Greenwood, responded to the recent house fire in Breitung Township, and that their department does training so that two to three members are ready to respond quickly to a fire with an apparatus. They are also working on creating standard operating procedures for use during emergency response, and then training on specific scenarios.
“Put your mind at rest about this,” he said.
Maus said they are currently working on additional repairs for fire boat one, which is now in the water, but needs repair work done on the foam system, as well as possible replacement of aluminum stand pipes used in one of the pumping systems. These pipes developed cracks several years ago due to water damage, and were repaired with welding, but Maus noted these repairs are not safe to use with the high-water pressure the boat is capable of pumping through these lines. He said they are currently not in use, and are not the boat’s primary pumping system. They are also having all the fuel lines replaced, after finding one fuel line had rotted, due to its age.
“That boat today would cost $800,000 to replace,” Maus told the board. “We need to keep the boat in good shape.”
The smaller fire boat is ready to go in the water as soon as the docks are in at Birch Point Marine, he said. The two new GPS units will be installed in both boats soon.
Maus said he is working with the medical director of the TAAS to train Greenwood First Responders so they can administer drugs such as epinepherine, aspirin, and glucose during medical emergencies. “Our EMS are all on board with doing these trainings,” he said.
In other business, the board:
• Will again ask for bids on lawn mowing service. The township tabled the single bid from the current provider, and was unhappy with a large increase in cost, and noted they had requested a three-year contract, and the bid was only for 2023.
• Supervisor Rick Stoehr said the township needs to look at replacing faded and worn out 911 signs. The township does have some duplicate signs at the town hall, which they will provide at no cost. Residents are asked to contact the town hall if their fire number needs to be replaced.
• Heard that the phones in the clerk’s office are now working, after repairs done at a junction box by Frontier. The issue was not due to the office phones or internal wiring, as Frontier had initially told the clerk.
• Heard that St. Louis County will be widening the shoulders on Cty. Rd. 115 when the road is resurfaced next year. The township had asked for wider shoulders to make the route safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
• Heard that St. Louis County Public Works sent a letter to the township stating they could no longer offer plowing services on Birch Point Extension, due to the deteriorating blacktop. Bassing will find out if this applies to the entire 1.8 mile stretch, or just a portion.
• Appointed Sue Drobac as deputy clerk. The city attorney said this was not a conflict. Drobac is a current supervisor, but She also served as town clerk in the past.
• Clerk JoAnn Bassing said township office hours are not being updated weekly on the website.
• Approved a $400 donation to the Tower-Soudan Joint Powers Recreation Board to make up for a missed payment in 2022.
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