FLINT TWP. — The Board of Trustees has promoted Lt. Michael Burkley to the rank of Assistant Fire Chief, despite objections from a trustee and a resident who spoke at a recent meeting.
Trustee Frank Kasle and Treasurer Sandra Wright voted no in the 4-2 decision approving Burkley’s promotion. Barb Vert was absent.
Kasle was the most vocal in his reservations, echoing objections raised during public comment by resident
Theresa Rowley who said the promotion might be in violation of the firefighters’ contract because Burkley will remain on 24-hour shifts.
“Before I am prepared to vote on this, we ought to get a formal opinion from our labor lawyer … that doing this does not violate the contract and is not an unfair labor practice,’’ Kasle said.
Kasle’s motion was denied to postpone the promotion until the next meeting to allow time for the legal consultation.
In recommending Burkley’s promotion, Fire Chief John Ringwelski said he was the number one candidate on the promotional list provide by the Civil Service Commission. He also said due to staffing levels, Lt. Burkley would remain on the 24-our shifts for now.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller read language directly from township regulations which she said supported its authority to promote Burkley and keep him on 24-hour shifts.
Miller also praised Burkley for doing an excellent job while briefly serving in the assistant fire chief position last year.
Kasle agreed with her assessment of Burkley’s abilities but held firm on his preference to delay the promotion.
“I would certainly vote for him, if we are allowed to do this,’’ Kasle said. “I am not sure in my mind we are allowed to do this.’’