Changing times: Town plans to hire six firefighters
Published 9:29 am Thursday, March 10, 2022
By Mike Barnhardt
When Mocksville Town Board members toured facilities on a Saturday budget retreat last month, there was something missing.
Other than Chief Frank Carter, who was conducting the tour, there were no firefighters on duty as town officials toured the fire station.
That needs to change, said Town Manager Ken Gamble.
He mentioned the $100 million investment in the community that local businesses had made during the past year. “And we can’t staff the fire station 24/7? No.
“We are a town of almost 6,000 people. We have to do things differently, creating good work environments, offering the best benefits.”
That sentiment goes beyond fire service, as other town departments are having trouble keeping a full staff.
Gamble said the days of relying on volunteer firefighters are over. Although volunteers are still important, there are times when they nor paid staff members aren’t available.
The town mostly employees firefighters who work full-time somewhere else, and labor laws limit the number of hours they can work in Mocksville.
Gamble is recommending the town hire six new firefighters as part of the upcoming budget. At least some of that cost will be borne by a one-time grant to all fire departments in the county, including Mocksville. The department has also applied for a grant that would pay for the six firefighters.
A revised town personnel policy should help recruit and retain employees, he said, offering more benefits at little or no cost to the town.