By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review

Tuesday morning’s Police and Fire Commission meeting began in closed session for interviews of three candidates: one for Patrol Lieutenant and one for Police Officer with the Wausau Police Department and a candidate for Lieutenant with the Wausau Fire Department. All three interviewees were hired.

There was also a monthly Fire Department Operations presentation with a report by Traci Tauferner of Advance Physical Therapy. Tauferner was brought on at the beginning of the year to assist the department in improving physical fitness, preventing injury, assessing and healing injuries more quickly, and managing ongoing conditions and pain. This is a cost avoidance measure for the department. Injury evaluations and rehabilitation occur on-site, and on-site physical therapy, it was reported, saves an estimated $200 per hour.

Ms. Tauferner reports that she has so far, in one capacity or another, seen 49 of the 61 firefighters. Data, of course, is only currently available only for the first two quarters of this year, but she says it does seem promising.

Fire chief Tracey Kujawa recounted various occasions where she has known employees to be unable to retire to a relaxing life because they have conditions that are not fully, and immediately, addressed. She hopes measures such as having a fitness trainer on-site will help avoid such situations in the future. She stressed the importance of treating on as well as off-duty injuries so that employees can get back to work sooner regardless of where an injury occurs and so that untreated personal injuries do not lead to work injuries.

Ms. Tauferner also discussed the testing phase that they had begun leading to the creation of functional job descriptions. Such information has several practical applications including being available to physicians when an employee gets injured and allowing a more accurate test to be performed to ensure new employees can handle all the demands of their position. She clarified that this analysis was able to be performed because there had been time remaining in the budget.

Several job interviews are upcoming—five next month for the police department and two the following month for the fire department.

Editor’s note: The Wausau Pilot and Review Documenters program is made possible through individual donations and grants from several organizations including the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. The program aims to democratize news and information at the local level through a group of local contributors

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