By Meg Olson
Fire chief Christopher Carleton is now officially a full-time employee of the fire district.
Part of the move was generated by Carleton’s wish to harmonize his retirement planning by making pension donations to the same plan he contributes to through his job in Ferndale.
“For the last couple of months I’ve talked about becoming part of the law enforcement and firefighters pension plan and becoming a full-time employee of the district, which is a requirement of that plan,” Carleton said at the April 12 meeting of fire district commissioners.
The change also better reflects the actual hours Carleton puts into the job. Though contracted to work 100 hours per month, Carleton put in 130 hours in December 2016, 152 hours in January 2017 and 114 in February 2017. Since January 2013 he has worked an average of 154 hours per month.
Now living in Point Roberts, Carleton has more flexible availability to respond to calls and work on department business. “I’m always on duty,” he said. His contract will now be for 160 hours a month.
Carleton’s salary will increase from $50,500 to $60,000. The salary is at the lower end of salaries for comparable chief’s positions in the county. “It’s a pretty sweet deal for Point Roberts,” said former fire chief Nick Kiniski, given Carleton’s qualifications as a paramedic.
Also in line with other full time chief’s, Carleton’s vacation will increase from 40 per year to 180 hours per year. However, the per-contract cap on accrued vacation time will remain at 200 for each five-year contract period.
Commissioners and Carleton still need to agree on contract modifications regarding sick days, which is expected to be on the agenda for their May 16 meeting.