WINCHESTER – North Dundas is looking for a part-time fire chief.

The April 4 North Dundas council meeting featured the recommendation that the current administrative structure of the North Dundas Fire Services be scrapped in favour of a new one led by a single fire chief.

The new fire services’ configuration would see the fire liaison and fire commissioner positions eliminated, as well as the municipality’s Fire Steering Committee, and renaming the existing fire chiefs as station chiefs.

The council agreed to the change.

North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser who has served his community as a firefighter said, “I was a member of the Fire Steering Committee for a number of years, and I was a proud supporter of our Fire Steering Committee, and it worked well.”

He remembered the early days of amalgamation when the municipality had to find a way to amalgamate the four fire stations, that prior to amalgamation had operated separately.

“We did it right, and the steering committee has carried us in a positive fashion through the pandemic and to this point. That is two decades of good direction from the steering committee.”

Fraser acknowledged that the pressures on the municipality and consequently on the fire services have changed. He cited as an example the challenges of insurance coverage for the municipality, and how those challenges will have to be met.

Fraser believes the decision to hire a part-time fire chief and make the subsequent changes to the municipal fire services is all part of the evolution of the fire services.

He said, “I’m sure there will be people concerned, and upset, and I know there will be people that have been anticipating this move and there were some people who would be celebrating the move.”

Currently there is a fire chief and deputy chief for each of the four North Dundas Fire Stations. There are eight individuals on the Fire Steering Committee. The steering committee completes the fire services’ draft budget and makes recommendations to council. The fire liaison is the staff link for communications between the CAO and the Fire Department and the fire commissioner is the link between council and the fire department.

A report about the change stated: “No individual has overall authority for the fire department, to ensure that policies and procedures are consistent between stations and that communication flows appropriately throughout the fire department. This has resulted in inconsistencies between stations and highlighted the need for improved communication between the Municipal Administration Department and the fire department.” In late 2022, an organizational review for North Dundas suggested the changes that the council adopted at the meeting.

During the review councillors, and a cross section of municipal staff were consulted along with fire services’ staff.

An online survey was sent to all fire chiefs and deputy chiefs.

North Dundas will be the last township in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry to have either a full-time or part-time fire chief.

For more information about the part-time fire chief position go to the North Dundas website and then go to career opportunities in the menu.