Finance board reinstates funding for part-time inspectors
The Board of Finance approved a request from the Fire Commission for an additional $5,000 in fiscal year 2010 funds to reinstate two part-time fire inspector positions that it recently voted to terminate.
Earlier this month, the board denied a $9,000 request from Fire Marshal Fred Baker to fund these positions through the end of the fiscal year.
The Fire Commission returned to the board with a second, slimmer request in an effort to retain personnel and ensure that all fire inspections slated for completion before the end of this fiscal year meet that deadline.
Board members, who originally cited the state of the economy and their aim to trim expenses as grounds for their decision to cease funding for the two positions, submitted to the second, less-costly request on the condition that the need for the two positions be evaluated again at the end of the fiscal year.
Baker said he and his team are charged with completing 388 inspections each year, some of which require additional check-ups. He estimated that about one third of the inspections remain unfinished with four months to go.
The former part-time employees were working one day per week, which was already trimmed down from a two-day per week schedule last year.
"All the [town] departments are trying to do more with less," said board member Paul Giusti, adding that the board will make a more informed decision about whether funding for the positions should continue based on data about the time necessitated for different inspection types, which will be monitored in the coming four months.