PHILLIPS — Fourteen members of the Fire Department who said last week that they would resign Feb. 9 have decided to stay on, Deputy Chief Mark Rousseau said Wednesday.

“They want to build on what we have,” he said.

Those at the regular department meeting Tuesday night were pretty much the same firefighters who attended the last meeting, including the 14 who decided to resign in February, he said.

“As it stands, they want to stay on working for the department and the town,” Rousseau said.

The most pressing concern for the 14 firefighters was that a new chief, Stephen Naas of Salem Township, was appointed who was not a resident and not a member of the department, they said in a news release Friday.

They also had never worked under his command, Rousseau said.

They were also concerned that Rousseau, an 18-year veteran firefighter, was not given a fair opportunity to apply for the position vacated by Fire Chief Jim Gould as of Dec. 31, 2015. They were also not involved in the process to appoint a new chief and didn’t know a new chief was hired until Rousseau told the town manager he was interested in the position, the release said.

Naas resigned Friday.

Rousseau said he met with Town Manager Elaine Hubbard and she gave him a copy of the chief’s job posting. Hubbard is advertising for the position.

“I will be applying for the position,” Rousseau said.

Hubbard said Tuesday that she had not received the resignations of 14 of the 17 active members of the department.

“What I need to make very clear to employees of the town is that I can’t accept a resignation” unless it is given to her in writing, she said.

Hubbard said she spoke to Rousseau to make sure he was going to be in charge until a new chief is hired.

“We would like to see something in place with the town in the future that when the position of fire chief comes up, that some members of the Fire Department be on the selection committee and be involved in interviewing and hiring,” Rousseau said.

On Tuesday, Franklin County Clerk Julie Magoon brought up a news report to county commissioners about the majority of Phillips firefighters who were planning to resign Feb. 9.

A check for $2,166.75 is ready to be sent out to the town for the fire protection services that Phillips Fire Department provides to Madrid Township, she said. She was concerned that commissioners would authorize sending the check and later discover that there’s no fire department.

“I don’t think we should withhold the check,” commission Chairman Clyde Barker said.

They have a Fire Department, he said. The money was raised and appropriated to go to Phillips for fire protection, he said.

Commissioners agreed the check should be sent to the town.

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