Flint Township addresses plan to hire new fire chief

FLINT TWP. — Flint Township will likely have to wait several months before hiring a new fire chief, according to an update provided by Supervisor Karyn Miller.

At Monday’s Flint Township Board of Trustees meeting, Miller told trustees that the township’s plan to hire a new fire chief will hinge on civil service testing, which is expected to begin in the fall when there will be a stronger pool of firefighters that meet the qualifications and experience for the position of fire chief.

The township is attempting to fill a vacancy left by former Flint Township Fire Chief Tom Stadler, who retired from the department last August. Flint Township Police Chief Kevin Salter has served as the interim fire chief for the past four months.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the township board approved the hiring of Andre Rodriguez as the Flint Township Fire Department’s newest full-time firefighter. Rodriguez, who is an on-call firefighter for the Saginaw Township Fire Department, also served four years on the Buena Vista Township Fire Department (2013-2017).

Rodriguez’s hiring will fill a vacancy and give the department 10 fulltime budgeted firefighters.

To make room for Rodriguez, Salter will step back as the township’s interim fire chief on April 11, the day before Rodriguez’s term of employment begins. Supervisor Miller said that Salter counts as the fire department’s 10th budgeted fulltime employee because he has served as an administrator.

Although the department once had up to 14 fulltime firefighter positions, Miller said that budget constraints have forced the township to limit the number of fulltime fire personnel to 10.

“There’s a need for more firefighters but we don’t have money in the budget to fully man three stations with a fire chief and an assistant fire chief,” she said.

In December, the Flint Township Fire Department promoted Mark Rowley Jr.— formerly a sergeant in the department—as its new assistant fire chief. The department also hired its ninth fulltime firefighter in December.