Hanover approves fire chief selection process

The Hanover City Council approved operating procedures related to appointing positions like the fire chief.

The council also heard about a solar panel project that could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, and was in favor of negotiating an economic development grant project that would gain the city an extra parcel for future public works facility expansion.


A goal of the city council was to establish a selection process for fire department officers.

Instead of an internal selection, the council wanted some council involvement for the fire chief and assistant chief positions.

Through some negotiations a process was reached whereby the department would still have some say but that a selection committee would look at the candidates and create a qualifications list.

The committee consisting of the mayor, one city councilor, city administrator, president and vice-president of the fire department would interview candidates for chief and make a determination if any are qualified for the role. The department would then choose from that list, and would internally make a recommendation.

The council would have final say.

"It’s a compromise we made with the department so they could be an important part of the process," city administrator Dan Buchholtz later said.

The council approved the selection process.


In other news, the council decided to apply for a CenterPoint Energy grant award to put solar panels on the fire station and city hall.

There is a program between a variety of federal tax credits and rebate programs that panels can be acquired at no cost.

The city would buy power generated from the panels for six years, and in the seventh year would own the panels outright.

According to projections, the panels should be able to generate three-quarters of the present power to city hall and about 90 percent of the power to the fire hall. During a 25-year period, estimates are to save the city almost a quarter million dollars at city hall and $175,000 at the fire hall.

The panels would be constructed sometime next year.


In other news, the council was updated about the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant.

The city was awarded this grant and has until Nov. 30 to designate its funds.

The city is considering working with the property owner of the former Ordorff gravel pit at Eighth Street and River Road that abuts the city hall park property.

The grant would be used to construct street, water and utilities on the gravel pit site to make it ready to be subdivided and developed. In exchange the property owner would give the city a parcel of land that could be used for future public works site expansion.

"We’re in preliminary discussion with the owner," administrator Buchholtz said. "It needs to come to agreeable terms and get the grant moved to this property."

The council is in favor of further negotiations.

-Compiled by Aaron Brom