June 19, 2018
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Eddington residents OK hiring full-time firefighter

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

EDDINGTON, Maine — After asking a few questions about the federal Emergency Response Corps funds awarded to the town to hire a firefighter to provide daytime station coverage, the 18 residents at Tuesday’s special town meeting unanimously approved matching funds.

“It passed with no problems at all,” Eddington Town Manager Russell Smith said on Wednesday. “The meeting lasted six minutes.”

Fire Chief Jim Ellis applied for and was awarded emergency response funds, which will create an AmeriCorps position at the Fire Department that will be filled by a local volunteer firefighter.

Residents on Tuesday approved spending $8,500 from the Fire Department’s reserve account to provide the required town match.

Craig Russell, a certified emergency medical technician and firefighter, applied for and was selected to fill the new AmeriCorps position, Smith said.

“He’s been with the department for six years,” he said.

Russell will work 40 hours a week providing daytime station coverage under the new program. In exchange for the 1,700 hours of work, which would cover an 11-month period, the AmeriCorps position will pay an annual stipend of $11,400 and a $4,725 AmeriCorps education scholarship. Health benefits and workers’ compen-sation coverage also are provided.

“It starts next week,” the town manager said of the program.

The emergency response program was created to help address the shortage of volunteers at rural fire departments. In 2003, the Maine Commission for Community Service, the agency charged with running the AmeriCorps program in Maine, awarded the Training Resource Center, a subsidiary of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, federal grants to create an emergency response program in southern Maine. In 2008, the program expanded to fund 20 AmeriCorps positions in northern parts of the state.

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