The department has spent nearly $900,000 of overtime to the full-timers in 2016 because of a lack part-timers needed to fill the voids in staffing.
The fire department will also create four new management-level positions from their current firefighter staff and continue with its part-time program.
“They’re an asset to the department and city,” Butts said of part-timers. “We will still aggressively recruit part-time firefighters and try to maintain our level of part-time firefighters. If we were able to maintain a vigorous pool of part-time members, we wouldn’t have spent any of that in overtime (in 2016).”
In March, the Dayton Daily News found that six of Kettering’s 11 highest-paid employees in 2015 were firefighters, a result of the city having to get rid of volunteer firefighters and cut the hours of part-timers to comply with federal healthcare mandates.
Kettering and the fire department conducted a study to help them determine what it would take to fill positions, what the cost would be and whether those costs would be preferred to overtime.
RELATED: Kettering’s newest fire station also headquarters
As the department gears up for an increase in staff, it will simultaneously welcome new fire stations as part of the $29.6 million project that strategically places four new stations throughout the city. Butts said the addition of the new stations is not directly tied to the creation of the new positions and comes as a result of a four-station plan developed in 2006.
“We have to fill so many positions a day to protect city and have a response model that our city deserves and expects day in and day out,” Butts said.
Kettering has two fully functional fire stations, in Fire Stations 32 and 36. Fire Station 36, located at 4745 Hempstead Rd., opened in September and will serve as fire headquarters. Station 34 is currently under construction, and the department hopes to move into that station near the fall of 2017.
The fourth station, Station 37, is currently in the design process with hopes of beginning construction in 2017.