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Two paramedic positions opening in fire department

The resignation of paramedic Frank Martinez from the Sunnyside Fire Department and the transfer of paramedic Bill Harris to a newly created position will leave two openings in the department.

Physical and written testing for these paramedic positions took place June 9, 10 and 11 by Public Safety Testing, Inc., a company the fire department is contracting with to handle the preliminary screening. One applicant passed the physical ability test.

Martinez originally requested a sabbatical to allow him to return to school, but that option is not available at the fire department, according to Fire Chief Aaron Markham.

"The only option was for him to resign," Markham told the Civil Service Commission, as he reported to members at their meeting last night at the Law and Justice Center.

Markham gave the commission an update on the new position Harris will be moving into in July.

Originally, the cost of a position of fire investigator/SWAT paramedic was to be shared equally by the police and fire departments.

"But the question came up of which bargaining unit would be involved, police or the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and we decided not to get in the middle of that," said Markham.

At this point, the position will be filled by a fire department employee (Harris) and funded from within the fire department's budget. "But he will be available in day time hours to the SWAT team, as needed," Markham said.

In addition to responding as a member of the Sunnyside Police Department's SWAT team, Harris's general duties will include responding to emergency calls to provide fire suppression, rescue and emergency medical assistance to the public; conducting fire investigations with criminal follow-up; making fire prevention inspections; and occasionally performing general maintenance on fire apparatus equipment and facilities.

Markham said the salary for this position is still to be negotiated with the IAFF.

. Frances Potts can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail FPotts@eaglenewspapers.com

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