The Ellisville Board of Aldermen unanimously approved at its regular meeting Tuesday the addition of a full-time firefighter to its staff to cull the department’s work shortage.
Ellisville Fire Department Interim Chief Jake Williams selected Nicholas Hocanson, a firefighter of five years, as the best candidate. Hocanson previously worked at Gautier and Petal fire departments and currently works part-time at the Ellisville department. The job’s full-time salary is set at around $25,000, Williams said.
“This will help out with our manpower, getting us back closer to a good number,” he said. “He’ll come over and get straight to work.”
The department will look to hire three more full-time firefighters before the year’s end, Williams said. With firefighters split working part-time at neighboring departments, “we don’t have the numbers to keep up with the days.”
“They can only work one day a week, and we’re needing two guys working a certain shift,” Williams said.
The city additionally approved the hiring of seven new part-time firefighters: Brady Miles, Elliott Edwards, Joey Collins and Erik Baker of Hattiesburg; and Charles Newell, James Newell and Kevin Dungan of Laurel. Williams said several more people are showing interest in part-time positions.
City adds officer,
raises crash report fee
The board unanimously approved a $350 reserve fee to add Ethan Wimberly to the police department’s reserve ranks.
Police Chief Bruce Russell said Wimberly is a “good-hearted” recruit and that the department can always use more officers.
In further business, Russell requested raising the price to obtain crash reports from the city from $10 to $20 at the department’s front office and $25 online. Russell said the price has been $10 for about 20 years now.
This year, police departments around the state began using a new crash report system that’s proved to be time-consuming as officers adjust to its nuances. The price change will help offset the paid hours spent on these reports.
E-Crash, the new system, aims to have crash reports obtainable online throughout the state soon, though Russell said he’s unsure when.
“(Obtaining a report online) will eliminate a lot of foot traffic in the front office,” he said. “If it was up to me, we’d be charging insurance companies $200 to $500 to pull reports, after factoring in manpower (and) cars.”
For obtaining crash reports, Clinton Police Department charges $20; Ocean Spring Police Department charges $35; Olive Branch charges $10; Pearl charges $25; Petal charges $10; and Laurel charges $10.
“For everything going into an accident report, $20 is cheap,” Russell said. “We may be low-balling it.”
The board also approved the department’s participation in No-Shave November. Police officers who don’t shave this month will find sponsors to pledge money that will pay for wellness checks for men over 40 years old.
“No money is passing through the department,” Russell said. “We’re just getting pledges.”
Laurel Police Department is also participating this month, according to Laurel Police Chief Tommy Cox. Officers will pay a small fee to not be required to shave for the month. At the end of November, the money will go to a cancer-related charity.
“I got the idea from another department and said, ‘They’re saving a little money on razors and stuff,’” Cox said. “Not only can we bring attention to men’s health, but we can do something positive with it.”
for city offices
The board unanimously approved the purchase of multiple new computers for government offices, with costs being divided between each computer’s corresponding department. The current computers are unable to support Windows 10, thus warranting the replacements.
Including the server and several desktops, the expense totals about $11,300. The server alone accounted for the bulk of the cost at $4,995.