Nine new firefighters take oath of office, to start work over next nine days
By Ed Runyan
Nine new firefighters will begin work in the Warren Fire Department starting today, one new employee added per day for nine days.
The hirings are part of the latest round of funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters grant, which is providing $2.4 million that can be used over two years and will allow the department to add 15 people.
But just as important is that the city also passed an income-tax increase in November and will use some of that money to try to keep the new firefighters until their retirement, Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said during a swearing-in ceremony Tuesday.
Most of the firefighters hired under the last SAFER grant in 2010 left the department after the grant funds ran out.
But Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said last fall the city would set aside more than $1 million in 2017 and 2018 from the proceeds of the additional income tax so that firefighters hired with the grant ”can ideally be retained after the expiration of the grant.”
The department will hire about six more firefighters as soon as it has a certified civil service list of additional candidates.
The Warren Civil Service Commission is giving another entry-level firefighter test at 9 a.m. April 29 at Warren G. Harding High School and will accept applications from 10 a.m. to noon March 28 and 2 to 4 p.m. March 31, both at the Warren Fire Department.
Fire Chief Ken Nussle said adding three more firefighters per shift should allow the department to operate all three fire stations in the city.
Thomas Rush IV of Warren Township, son of former Warren Township Police Chief Thomas Rush, said getting hired by the Warren Fire Department is “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
He added, “It’s a dream come true, personally, since I was a little kid. This was always what I wanted to do, especially in the city of Warren.”
Karen Jividen, mother of new hire Devon Jividen of Painesville, said she believes the Warren Fire Department is a “good fit” for Devon because he’s mainly interested in the fire service, and Warren’s fire department has that focus compared to departments that also handle ambulance calls.
The new hires will make $30,400 annual base pay and will top out at a little under $46,000 per year after five years, Nussle said.
Besides Rush, two other new hires from the Warren area are Abraham Wallie of Braceville Township and Ronnie Simone of Warren. Brock Trimmer is from Beloit.
Besides Jividen, the others are Russell Spencer of Troy Township, Geauga County; Max Druso of Parma; Shane Turner of Chardon; and Brian Logan of Columbia Station, Lorain County.