Board of Trustees approves pay raises, purchases fire gear

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published March 31, 2024


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The Harrison Township Fire Department walked away from the March 25 Board of Trustees meeting with new gear and three promotions.

Trustees approved the purchase of over $10,000 in tactical gear for the Fire Department as part of an effort to prepare for a “worst day” emergency, such as a mass shooting. Items purchased include ballistic plates, plate carrier vests, bulletproof helmets, tourniquet pouches, pouches for plate carriers and wallets.

“The county is acknowledging that we need to be better prepared and while we’ve done some training, it kind of all took a backseat to COVID,” said Harrison Township Fire Chief David Bostater. “Everybody’s back on track now. They had some grant money and they provided us with our first vest, so we wanted to make sure we were getting like equipment.”

The equipment was defined by Macomb County Emergency Management as necessary for emergency services to operate in a second-wave capacity to police in a mass shooting.

The purchase of three tablets aims to help improve the department’s readiness and communications. The iPad Pro devices will give fire apparatus crews a direct connection to Macomb County’s dispatch center and give fire truck crews the ability to look up building information en route to an emergency. The tablets cost $3,600 with a $120 monthly data charge.

Firefighters William Nolan, Austin Masalskis-Hardie and Dustin Currie were promoted to the newly-established rank of Engineer. Lieutenant Erik Evans was awarded the department’s 2023 Firefighter of the Year designation.


Elected official raises
Trustees also approved increasing salaries for the positions of township supervisor, clerk and treasurer to $95,000, effective Nov. 20, 2024.

The increases were made to match inflation as per policy adopted in 2021, though inflation-level increases had not been made because township employee salaries were not raised to match inflation. Had the policy been followed, Township Supervisor Ken Verkest said the three officials would have a salary of $91,110 rather than the current salary of $87,665.

“I think this is a transparent thing, to do it right now and make it active Nov. 20, which is after the election, so basically this is a decision that is going to be decided by the voters,” said Trustee Dean Olgiati. “If the voters are upset with the fact that these people are getting these particular increases in salary, then they have the option on Nov. 6 to do what they have to do.”

The raise was approved unanimously from the six trustees in attendance. Clerk Adam Wit was absent from the meeting.