Dicussion about possible EMoPP changes continue at Mehlville Fire

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By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

Changes to the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s Employee Manual of Policies and Procedures were called into question Sept. 22 as deliberation continued from earlier this month.

Captain Ty Cardona, shop steward of Mehlville Local 2665 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said employees weren’t sure what the goal of vacation draft changes proposed Sept. 9 were. The proposed plan changed the model from four to five rounds of day selections.

“That’s going to displace about 14 people with not getting the type of vacation they get this year,” Cardona said. “New and old people are going to be moved out of those slots.”

Cardona suggested the board keep the old vacation model and remove one of two personal day slots instead. He said new and old employees would like to see the model remain the same.

Chief Brian Hendricks said the proposed change came about to eliminate having to order people to work unscheduled shifts. 

“I don’t believe it will have the hardship in regard to people being displaced because there is a significant amount of open slots that exist at the end of every year,” Hendricks said. “From 1998 to 2004, I didn’t pick a vacation outside of the first week of April. I don’t want to go back to that.”

Hendricks suggested they try the new system for a year to see how it goes.

Hendricks also proposed some new changes to the EMoPP to plan for being short staffed. The first change bans spontaneous personal days from being taken on scheduled overtime periods.

“Last Saturday we had to order five people in. That five turned into six because somebody called in for utilization of that personal day,” Hendricks said. 

The second outlines a plan for when staff is unexpectedly short, something the EMoPP has lacked in the past. Hendricks said issues with staff reductions have become increasingly prevalent during the pandemic. Another change outlines procedures for ordering employees in with 72 hours advance notice. Employees would also be allowed to work while on vacation.

The last change focuses on the vital sign policy, requiring employees to notify the board of attempts to rectify any health concerns. An option was added to allow employees to perform a check up with an on staff physician in case a doctor’s visit can’t be scheduled.

The board will continue to discuss the changes at its next meeting, and will attempt to pass them before vacations are chosen.