Newsline 9 has learned overtime payouts at the Wausau Police Department have increased during the past three years.More >>
WAUSAU (WAOW) -
Wausau Fire officials need to hire five new members to make up for two retirements and three resignations. The jobs all opened in a period of about two months, which some city officials say is unusual.
That's why the fire department and the city of Wausau are working to speed up the hiring process, to fill the open spots.
"In most places there's certain cycles that occur. This just happens to be one of them where we have a few more openings than what we normally do," Battalion Chief Mark Krueger said.
When fully staffed, 54 people work at the Wausau Fire Department. Krueger told Newsline 9 the department has had to shift schedules and increase overtime to cover the shortage.
"That's going to be running in the near future because of the shortages that we have," he said.
Wausau Human Resources Director Michael Loy said the situation is challenging.
"The majority of those people were all on one crew. That's just coincidental, but the difficulty is that we need to recruit five people pretty quickly," he added.
To do that, the city is trying to speed up the recruitment process. The deadline to submit an application was last Friday. City officials said it also helps to have local training programs, like the Fire and EMS program at North Central Technical College, that help people get the skills they need to qualify.
"You have to be firefighter 2 qualified and paramedic to get hired there," NTC Fire and EMZ Director Doug Jennings told Newsline 9.
He helps prepare students for a firefighting career.
"We have five classes going on right now, which is about 60 firefighter candidates," he said.
Wausau officials said they will consider any candidate that meets the requirements for the open positions.
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