The Mount Vernon City council also approved language changes to the Mount Vernon Fire Department’s constitution.

Mount Vernon fire chief Nate Goodlove noted that the language changes were spurred by COVID-19 and the structure of the fire department. The language to the constitution was last changed more than 15 years ago.

One of the key changes was on the fire cabinet structure, including making sure the six captains elected to the cabinet serve three year rotating terms.

The other key change was making sure there are enough volunteers for any calls that come in.

“We’ve had instances where we have had eight or nine volunteers show up for a call, to the next night not having enough for one dedicated crew when they were really needed,” Goodlove said. “We’ve now instituted a nine-day rotation for volunteers to know when they’re on call to make sure we have a dedicated crew.”

The department has 35 volunteers at the moment, the most volunteers the service has ever had, and many of these changes are being made to help maintain that force of volunteers.

The other minor tweaks to the language involved making sure volunteers are able to get the appropriate training to be a member of the department.

“For many of these volunteers, we’re asking for them to give us roughly 40 hours in training a year,” Goodlove said. “That’s the equivalent of a week of work or vacation and time away from their family. There’s a lot more training and time that’s required for our volunteer fire department.”

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