Gary Fire Chief Paul Bradley was just 18 years old and a recent graduate of Lew Wallace High School when he applied for a job with the city’s Fire Department, his lifelong employer.
But if Bradley were coming along today, he wouldn’t be able to apply. He’d be regarded as too young, even though he doesn’t think the extra years would make much of a difference in his on-the-job abilities.
“I think I turned out pretty good,” Bradley said on Tuesday, in appearing before the Common Council’s Finance committee, which reviewed a proposal to lower the minimum age for applying for a Fire Department job from 21 to 18.
Council President Ronald Brewer is sponsoring the ordinance, which could come up for a vote by the full council when they meet again on Thursday.
Brewer said he thinks the change in policy, which Bradley said would really be restoring hiring policies to the way things used to be, would benefit Gary in terms of increasing the number of local residents who are employed by the Fire Department.
“Right now, we can go into the high schools and tell young people about jobs with the Fire Department, but then they can’t actually apply until they’re 21,” Brewer said.