Fire district: One of the heads lost
July 3, 2008 · Updated 9:38 PM
The Fire District 2 commissioners have decided it would be more efficient to manage a fire district with a full-time, paid chief rather than a district that is managed as a team concept with the commissioners accepting a portion of the management and two part-time paid fire chiefs accepting the management of training and fire fighting operation of the volunteer firefighters.
Fire District 2 was divided into two divisions with a chief in each division and an average of 30 firefighters and they trained every Monday evening. Each division functioned as a unit and the chiefs had input in all budget decisions and equipment requirements. The commissioners divided up the administrative responsibility into three functions: 1) administrative (insurance, office staff, etc.); 2) equipment (bid requirements and procedures, etc.); and 3) building and grounds (building maintenance and requirements, etc.). Each commissioner had the responsibility to bring up the requirements of their respective area to the members of the board, administrative staff, and the two fire chiefs to work out the final action.
Over the past 30 years this system has worked and the fire district has grown into what I consider one of the greatest volunteer fire districts in the state that has continued to operate in the black. I always was under the impression that two heads are better than one.
At a recent commissioners meeting a fire commissioner stated that they were elected to set and enforce policy and not manage a fire district. The commissioners should take note they can delegate the responsibility for the management of the fire district. In the future we would probably have been forced to make a change when we lost the dedicated personnel we currently have, but why change something that is working and producing results, for the sake of change and the opinions of a few people? The commissioners have made the decision and we will have to live with it and remember their actions at election time.