By Susan Tebben
Township trustees are unanimous in their decision to make Lt. Robert Williams Jr. the second-in-command at the Austintown Fire Department.
Williams, who has been with the department since 1978, was notified Tuesday morning of the trustees’ decision to appoint him assistant chief.
“Bob brings a lot of experience and a great background,” said Trustee Jim Davis. “We’re looking for a lot out of him.”
A start date for Williams has not been decided, since the department now will have to fill Williams’ spot on the force and promote a firefighter to lieutenant, but Frost is looking forward to having Williams start the new position. Williams will receive an annual salary of $61,556, according to his contract.
“He’s been a leader in our department and done a great job,” Frost said. “I think he’s a good fit.”
The police department, meanwhile, saw three new faces added to the ranks as officers from its reserve program were brought up to fill vacant patrol positions.
Daniel Burich, Joel Gensler and Ronald Crum started as reserve officers in August of last year, which gives them an advantage going into the regular rotation.
“Instead of spending six months riding with a patrol officer to train, they will only have to do that for a few weeks since they’ve already been a part of the department,” Davis said.
They will be paid $19.30 hourly, or $40,152 annually, said Township Administrator Mike Dockry.
But the three officers also have previous experience, even before they started in Austintown.
“All of them have past experience from outside agencies,” said police Chief Bob Gavalier. “That gives us some perspective of what other agencies are doing on the outside and what we can take from it.”
Now the department will look for additional candidates to add to the reserve program again. With the promotion of Burich, Gensler and Crum, the reserves are down to three officers. With additional retirements possible within the department in the next year, Davis anticipates more officers from the reserve units will be needed to fill the positions.
Reserve officers work on average 32 hours a month on a volunteer basis.