BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
In a cost-savings measure estimated to save the city $70,000 annually, Trenton officials have streamlined the administration of the police and fire departments.
Jim Nardone, former police chief, has been named director of Trenton Police and Fire Services. Steve Voss has been named Police Chief and Jeff Evans has been named Fire Chief.
Nardone will oversee the departments as a whole, while Evans and Voss will maintain the day-to-day operations of their respective departments.
The three men will take a team approach to redefining the administration of services, looking to neighboring communities that have similar structures, such as Riverview, Southgate, Brownstown and River Rouge.
“Trenton residents have great faith in the community’s police and fire services, so I consider it an honor to be leading this department,” said Nardone.
The move was prompted by budget discussions about administrative level positions, and the subsequent retirements of Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Davis in September and Fire Chief Bruce Vick last month.
“Based on departments in other cities, we thought we might be heavy one administrator in the fire department,” said Jim Wagner, city administrator. “At the same time, Jeff Davis was considering retiring, so after further discussions, we decided to redline his position, and eliminate the deputy police chief position as well.”
Both Wagner and Nardone pointed out that the decision is in no way a forerunner to merging the departments. There is currently no plan to combine police and fire operations, they said.
“We think this move will save positions, in particular union positions, not eliminate them,” Wagner said. “From Day 1, Mayor Kyle Stack has said she wants to maintain the 132 full-time positions she had when she took office.
We have added a few and consolidated others, but kept focused on that goal among general city employees.”
Wagner said both departments are currently staffed with 34 employees, and the city is facing a tremendous issue next year when the federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants end in late 2014.
“We are looking at the loss of grants to fund positions and several retirements in the coming year,” said Wagner. “With that, we need to find the happy medium between the number needed to provide community services and the budget needed to fund those positions.”
Between the three administrators is more than 60 years of providing protective services to Trenton residents. Nardone is a 24-year veteran of the police force. Voss and Evans are 20-year veterans with the city.
Prior to these appointments, Nardone was chief for two years and deputy chief for four. Voss was deputy chief under Nardone. Evans had been fire marshal for four years.
Their considerable working knowledge, extensive training and education will serve them well as they take on new responsibilities regarding grant proposals, scheduling, discipline and budgets.
“This move, under these men, will be a great benefit to the city,” Wagner said.