New Phila approves agreement with Career Center

New Phila approves agreement with Career Center

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At the Dec. 13 meeting of the New Philadelphia Safety, Health and Service Committee, chair Kelly Ricklic urged passage of two pieces of legislation out of committee and to full council for emergency passage.

The first was a resolution for a management contract between the city and Buckeye Career Center for the services of a firefighter training position. Under the agreement BCC would pay a $30,000 stipend for the city to hire the trainer during a one-year exploratory period.

According to Jim Parrish, New Philadelphia fire chief, the position used to be covered by a part-time individual who worked on evenings and weekends. “Training is a big component of the fire service,” Parrish said.

The agreement will make training available during normal business hours. It also will offer an alternative to completing a college firefighter program.

“A lot of discussion and thought went into this plan,” Parrish said. “We win with people. We win with well-trained people and good equipment.”

Parrish said the goal is to make the New Philadelphia Fire Department the go-to place for other departments to receive firefighter training.

“To me, it’s, I think, it’s outstanding when the city can partner with any group in the community to utilize same resources rather than vying for two resources,” Ricklic said. “I think it’s outstanding that we can work together as a community like this, and I think this shows what Buckeye Career Center stands for and what our city stands for.”

Councilwoman Cheryl Ramos asked if the hours spent at BCC would be separate from the hours working for the city.

Marvin Fete, the city’s law director, said the arrangement is for the hours to be separate, and councilman Dean Holland said, “There is not going to be a conflict between city time and Buckeye time.”

Councilman and committee member Rob Maurer said the agreement includes a clause allowing either party to back out of the agreement at any point for any reason.

Councilman John Zucal said the person will be a city employee, not an employee of BCC. He also commended the leadership at BCC and Parrish of the fire department.

“The way I understood it from individual conversations with the chief, he went to great lengths to ensure that a conflict would not take place,” Zucal said. “What I think is critical is that they’ve built in various clauses that say ‘if this isn’t working, we can get out.’ It’s really going to be a win-win.”

Parrish confirmed Zucal’s statement. “Eight months from now, we want to sit down and really see if we want to continue down this road.”

The second piece of legislation moved out of committee was an ordinance pertaining to a recently finalized opioid settlement agreement between OneOhio and Johnson & Johnson and its U.S.-based Janssen Pharmaceuticals Company.

Fete outlined the terms of the national agreement, which he said orders the company to pay $5 billion over no more than nine years. The money will be distributed to individual states affected, and the states will distribute funds to local governments.

“As you know, we previously passed legislation approving settlements with the other companies involved in lawsuits that have been commenced on behalf of the attorney general for the State of Ohio,” Fete said.

At that time, he said, an agreement had not been reached with Johnson & Johnson.

“I personally think people should have been held criminally liable,” Fete said. “But this is the best outcome of a bad situation.”

According to Fete, Tuscarawas County ranked 18th in drug-overdose mortality rates out of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Before adjourning, Ricklic thanked Zucal and Rob Maurer, both of whom are retiring as councilmen, for their service to the city.

“These two members have done a lot for our community in the area of safety, health and service,” Ricklic said. “They’ve done a lot for the city; they did a lot before I was here. I’m going to miss both of you.”