Lima hires new firefighters

First Posted: 1/22/2014

LIMA — Lima City Law Director Tony Geiger swore in the three newest members of the Lima Fire Department at mayor Dave Berger’s press conference Wednesday, ending a several month-long process through the city’s Civil Service Board.

Dave Coulter, 31, of Lima, Nathan Haines, 25, of Lima, and Justin Orphal, 22, of Wapakoneta, were all sworn in and will join the fire department as some of several hires scheduled for 2014 scheduled according to the city’s proposed budget. The three new firefighters were officially appointed to their new positions Jan. 13.

Berger said the process for hiring the new personnel began early in 2013. Civil Service Board Secretary Andy King also works as an attorney and was unable to be reached for firm dates on when the process began, or for the number of applicants or number of applicants selected on the final list of potential employees.

Geiger briefly spoke on the new hires after administering the oath.

“My wife and I were discussing these hires last night,” Geiger said. “She told me these three may be the ones that save our lives one day. Hopefully will won’t be in need of their services in the near future. We wish them the best of luck.”

Lima Fire Chief Mark Heffner said the hires were welcome as the city works to strengthen its force. New hirings in the fire and police departments have been put aside as economy problems were given time to rebound.

“These three men will be great additions to the Lima Fire Department,” Heffner said.

Coulter brings with experience from the Bath Township, Cridersville, and Shawnee fire departments, as well as time with Lima Allen County Paramedics. Haines has served with the Bath and Shawnee Township fire departments as well as LACP. Orphal has had experience with the Bath Township Fire Department and the EMS squads in Wapakoneta and Putnam County.

The Lima Human Resources Committee has held several meetings since October to reevaluate the civil service hiring process and has been going through the rule book section by section.

Rules already that will go to council for proposed change would be the elimination of civil service rule 4.4.3, which called for a $1 filing fee for employment applications for certified positions, rule 4.4.4, which banned applicants from retrieving original applications.making it possible for applicants to make updates and changes to pertinent information if they added training or experience during the application process, and rule 8.1.2, which banned employees transferred from one position to another from getting pay raises without approval from City Council. Geiger told committee members that the rule was no longer used. Some of the more debated topics in the future will include the elimination of the Rule of 10, which in effect qualified 10 people for employment of a position. Former committee chair Paige Townsend said the rule was implemented in an attempt to allow for more diversity among candidates. There has been discussion by the committee to possibly get rid of the rule or change it to speed up the process.

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