Retire, rehire of Boardman fire chief means near $8,000 pay raise
By Josh Stipanovich
Boardman Township’s fire chief was making about $78,500 before he retired at the beginning of June.
When he was rehired by the township days later as a contracted employee to fulfill the duties of the fire chief, George Brown’s salary went up to $86,500.
“We wanted to keep [Brown] in that position so we can continue to grow the department,” township Trustee Thomas Costello said. “We have been very pleased with his work.”
He said though, on paper, it looks like the township is losing money, it’s not. He noted that if the township were to advertise the position, it would have been looking at spending up to or more than $100,000 for another chief given the size of the township and the job duties.
Costello said Brown was being pursued by “other people” for work, and Brown came to the board during its May 29 meeting and asked to retire under his Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.
Brown said he chose to retire because of changes made to the 10-year treasury note within his pension plan, which would have meant he’d lose money in the long run.
But, “I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Boardman,” he said.
A resolution was passed unanimously by the board May 29 to accept Brown’s resignation. Another resolution immediately was passed approving Brown’s rehiring, according to meeting minutes.
The board devised a memorandum of understanding approved June 10, its last meeting, Costello said.
The trustees, Brown and Jason Loree, township administrator, met to discuss the memorandum.
Before Brown’s retirement, Brown was an at-will employee, which means he didn’t make additional overtime money; he made a set salary, Costello said.
So the trustees looked into the three assistant chief’s wages and found they made, including overtime, about $86,000 a year.
“We believe the boss should make what the assistants make,” Costello said. “[Brown] already has one year [of] experience. He’s extremely well connected.”
Brown will also be able to collect money from his pension in 60 days, Costello said.
“We felt it was a good deal for the township,” Costello said.