Plan puts volunteers on payroll with fewer hours to avoid health insurance rule

Greenwood plans to get rid of the volunteer fire department that has provided part-time firefighters to the city for nearly three decades and will hire those firefighters as city employees by April.

Residents shouldn’t notice the change because they will mostly see the same faces if firefighters install their babies’ car seats, teach local elementary school students to stop, drop and roll, or are called to an emergency.

The change means the city is ending a contract with the Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department and hiring the organization’s staff of 70 as part-time city employees. The city also will cut the hours of the 18 volunteer firefighters who work more than 30 hours a week so they won’t be eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and hire up to 20 more part-timers to work the extra hours.

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