FLINT TWP. — After meeting in a closed session, the township board approved 5 to 1 the contract for new Fire Chief Thomas Stadler. Trustee Barb Vert voted against the contract which offers a $89,250 salary that will increase to $93,713 at the end of a successful six-month probation period. Trustee Frank Kasle was absent from the special meeting held last Wednesday morning. Before approving the contract, the board spent some time debating whether to pay the chief a higher amount or a lower amount of about $85,000, with an increase after the probation period. Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said in negotiations with the personnel committee, Stadler had asked for the higher amount in exchange for a buy down of some of his sick bank days. Clerk Kathy Funk, also a member of the personnel committee, said that Stadler’s contract is similar to those of retired Fire Chief John Ringwelski and current Police Chief George Sippert. “I truly feel that Chief Stadler will bring about positive change to the fire department so I fully support the addition of four thousand,” Funk said. Vert asked if any thought had been given to starting Stadler at the lower amount ($85,000) then moving it up after the sixmonth probation. Treasurer Lisa Anderson also questioned the “rationale” for the higher amount. Miller said the pay is competitive with that of fire chiefs in the area – some that pay more and some paying less. Vert asked about seniority rankings for those salaries. Miller said she did not have that information but noted that Stadler has been with the fire department nearly 20 years, including most recently as a Captain. Vert maintained that the comparison to an experienced chief’s salary was different. Stadler emerged as the top candidate for the chief’s job after recent Civil Service testing. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Burkley ran the department for the past two years, after the retirement of Ringwelski. Stadler’s promotion was approved at the June 5 board meeting. His formal swearing-in ceremony is being planned for next month at Fire Station One where former township fire chiefs and those from surrounding communities will be invited to attend. Also during its closed session meeting with municipal Attorney H. Lizzie Mills, the board discussed the status of contract negotiations with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). Its last contract expired in December 2015 and has been extended during mediation. After returning to open session, the board did not discuss or take action on the IAFF contract.