FARMINGTON -- New fire chief Guido Smith is pushing for the addition of a part-time fire marshal to fill some existing holes.
Smith says he has found the need after doing an analysis of services offered by the Farmington Fire Department.
Smith made a case for the addition of a new part-time fire marshal last week to the city council, arguing there are some critical components of service, beyond mere firefighting, the department needs to fill within the community.
The city council approved his request by a unanimous vote, after significant discussion on how the position will be funded and on some other procedural issues regarding how specific matters will be handled within the department.
Smith is expected to advertise the new post in the immediate future.
The marshal will handle a number of duties ranging from plan reviews and field inspections to fire investigations, according to Smith.
He estimated the position would be allotted approximately 15 hours a week and could cost the city a little more than $17,000 a year. He estimated contracting out the same services would cost the city approximately $43,000 a year.
The chief expects to fund the position within any change in the budget during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, but noted there may need to be some adjustments in the next fiscal year.
Currently, the city contracts with an outside group to do some plan reviews for the building department, and City Manager Dave Millheim said that funding would be shifted to the fire department to do that work, and others.
Millheim said attention to the need for a fire marshal came after he asked Smith to do a thorough review of the FFD and how they are meeting needs in the community.
"I think we've been lucky, more than good in that area," Millheim said of the gap in services the marshal will fill.
A number of city officials expressed concern about some inspection issues not being met.
Mayor Scott Harbertson said the gap concerns him, while Councilman Cory Ritz found it hard to accept.
"I was surprised at the things we were not doing," Ritz said of the review.
The fire department consists of two full-time employees and 33 part-time employees.