SALEM - With Lt. Rod Hughes retiring later this month, some of his co-workers have been studying for the chance to take his spot in the Salem Fire Department hierarchy.
The Salem Civil Service Commission will administer a promotion test at 7 p.m. Thursday in city hall council chambers for the lieutenant rank. Eight members of the fire department signed up to take the test, which is limited to two hours.
Salem Civil Service Commission Clerk Gary Moffett explained that personnel with the rank of inspector and those with the rank of firefighter who have enough time and grade and who have served the probationary period are eligible to take the test.
The department includes Chief Jeff Hughes and 15 full-time firefighters, with three captains, three lieutenants, three inspectors and six firefighters.
Moffett said the test, which is compiled by a private company, consists of 100 multiple choice questions, some which are very technical. For those who receive a passing grade, the raw score is combined with points awarded for years of service. The maximum amount of points allowed for years of service is 10.
As an example, he said if someone scored a 78 and they received the maximum number of points for years of service, their score would be 88.
The person with the highest score moves into the lieutenant position, then a beginning firefighter will be hired to fill the open spot on the roster. If an inspector gets the promotion to lieutenant, then a firefighter will be promoted to inspector and a new firefighter hired. Either way, Salem will have a new firefighter chosen from the current eligibility list.
Moffett said the lists are good for two years. The list in place is still good, so no test was required this time around. The new hire will have to go through a complete physical. The new lieutenant will have a general physical, he said.
The testing for the firefighter eligibility list included a 100-question multiple-choice written exam and a physical agility test.
The Salem Civil Service Commission will grade the promotion test for lieutenant after the test is completed Thursday night and notify the chief and city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst of the results.
Lt. Rod Hughes will work his last shift beginning the morning of Jan. 23 and leave the following morning on Jan. 24 after more than 23 1/2 years on the job. Firefighters work shifts of 24 hours on followed by 48 hours off.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Rod Hughes was hired as a full-time firefighter on June 6, 1990. He said he has no regrets about leaving, but will miss some of it. He and his brother, Chief Jeff Hughes, started around the same time.
They have the most years served in the department. The number of years completed by other firefighters ranges from more than two years to more than 21 years.