Sixteen lieutenants started working in Carroll County’s new Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services earlier this month, following an extensive hiring process that involved combing through 92 applicants.
The department has hired four shift commander lieutenants and 12 station lieutenants, all men, and eight of them from Carroll County.
All began working March 2 and were assigned to the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center on Kate Wagner Road in Westminster, where they are facilitating the hiring of up to 134 more personnel from an applicant pool of more than 300.
The push to create a combination paid and volunteer county fire service began in Carroll County more than a decade ago. In 2018, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation allowing the county to establish the new department, and, in October 2020, commissioners unanimously voted to pass an ordinance creating it.
During their 14-hour shifts, the lieutenants also are spending time working on policies and procedures for the new department and procuring supplies, uniforms and other items to support incoming employees, according to Chief Michael Robinson.
“The first class of lieutenants is incredible and brings a wealth of experience, qualifications, knowledge and training to our new combined department,” Robinson said in a county government news release. “I could not ask for a more outstanding team and appreciate that their extensive leadership experience and expertise gives Carroll County a tremendous start to our new system.”
Robinson said the lieutenants already are state certified and licensed as emergency medical technicians or paramedics.
“They are state/nationally certified as fire officers, firefighters, safety officers and rescue technicians as well as credentialed as emergency vehicle operators, incident commanders and hazardous materials operations,” he said. “Many are also state certified instructors and several have masters degrees.”
Previous positions for the group include fire chiefs, captains, and lieutenants in both volunteer and paid departments.
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The four shift commander lieutenants will be paid $33.76 per hour, and the 12 station lieutenants will earn $30.95 per hour. Robinson said the 12 station lieutenants will be assigned four each to the Westminster, Sykesville and Mount Airy volunteer fire and rescue companies. The four other lieutenants will be shift commanders, overseeing the entire department while on 24-hour shifts.
The lieutenants will move to their assigned companies on June 8.
The hiring process included a written test, physical ability practice, an oral interview with a panel of internal and external leadership, assessment to cover both technical and supervisory areas, an extensive background investigation and psychological assessment.
Robinson said hiring for the rest of the department is ongoing.
“We are in the hiring process for 76 additional positions to begin on or about [June 8] and then an additional 60 positions to begin on [July 13],” he said. “For next year, we will hire an additional 86 positions that, once approved, would begin in July 2024. So, our hiring will be an ongoing process so that we have eligible personnel available to fill any vacancies as they occur and continue to move forward with the approved staffing plan.”
A photo that accompanied this story incorrectly stated the job title of Mike Karolenko of the Carroll County Fire and EMS Department. He is a station lieutenant. The Carroll County Times regrets the error.