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City Council to appoint fire department liaison
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BRODHEAD - The Brodhead City Council Monday unanimously adopted new procedures for the city's fire department.

The council received recommendations from Tom Purdy of the Development Group, which the city hired to look at issues with Fire Chief Jay Bohan. Those issues, brought up by about six firefighters in the department, were the subject of a closed session meeting July 20.

Council member Shelly Kuhl said the council didn't adopt Purdy's recommendations exactly as they were written, but did consider the ideas presented in the report.

As part of the new procedures, the council will appoint a liaison who will meet with fire department personnel regularly. The liaison will also make sure the fire department meets specific goals. The position is to be filled before the August city council meeting.

The liaison will make sure the fire department creates job descriptions for all department personnel by Sept. 1, which will be reviewed by the liaison; creates a grievance policy by Sept. 1; and enacts a standard operating procedure for the department in 60 to 90 days. The fire department must also create a policy and procedures manual by Dec. 31.

Kuhl said the council didn't examine policies or procedures that had been used by the department when Bohan was hired two years ago. The council left it up to him to make any changes and bring any concerns to the city council.

The council's vote Monday was made in open session without much discussion following a closed session to "consider employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data or a public employee over which the Common Council exercises responsibility," according to the council agenda.

The report about department organization was a result of complaints made by firefighters about Bohan's leadership. On July 20, the council held an almost four-hour meeting to hear from firefighters, fire department officers and trustees, the city's personnel committee and township board chairman.

After about three and a half hours in closed session, the city council voted unanimously to reappoint Bohan, the department's first full-time fire chief.

His contract was due to expire July 29. His one-year contract with the department will allow him to continue as chief from July 28 to July 27, 2011.