Nov. 24, 2018 — The Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue (SVFR) Board of Directors met for its December meeting last Tuesday evening, with all directors in attendance. The meeting began with Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Pete Warren’s introduction of four new recruits from the most recent graduating class of ten to the board. SVFR Interim Chief Steve Abel handled the presentation of the monthly financial information to directors in place of Office Manager Dina McClure, who was not in attendance.
Director John Carnahan had some brief questions regarding the classification of expenditures for new dash cams and uniform upgrades. Carnahan was supportive of the effort to provide more fire-retardant utility uniforms for full-time firefighters, but voiced concern about specifying which account the funds for the expenditures would be taken from.
The directors then approved the total monthly expenditure amount of $169,907.
Ultimately, Board President Ron Green responded positively to the financial report as did other directors.
“I appreciate the continued improvement in the financial reporting. It’s good to see the year-to-year balance sheet, because we didn’t have a balance sheet for most of last year. It’s good to see our cash and current assets are quite a bit higher than they were a year ago. It feels like we are in a better position operation wise,” Green said.
Reports from Chief Abel and Operations Chief Dickerson were for the most part routine, although there was some confusion surrounding the final salary and vacation payments that were payed out to former Chief Director Jim Langborg.
Director Carnahan was again a voice questioning the financial aspect of Langborg’s resignation, asking that staff work to clarify the situation regarding the specifics of his owed vacation and final salary payments.
“There is nothing we can do about this now. I just want to be open and straightforward with things and I think we need to address this a little more,” Carnahan said.
Staff agreed to investigate and respond to Carnahan’s concerns at a later time.
The ongoing integration of SVFR and the Western Lane Ambulance was the next major item of business discussed.
President Green reminded directors that the next board meeting will be convened with members from both SVFR and WLAD in attendance.
“There is a joint board meeting of the ambulance and fire district scheduled for December 19th, at which time I expect the IGA Committee is going to recommend a new job description, and then a discussion of the concern that the present IGA is probably going to be a deterrent to the hiring process — specifically the provision that it can be terminated in 30 days,” Green said.
Chief Abel responded to the Green’s comments by pointing out the work being done to update and codify the qualifications sought for the permanent chief.
“In one of the existing job descriptions it says the Chief Director works for both boards. Western Lane Ambulance as well as the fire board. In reality, the legal relationship — the employment relationship — is with SVFR and the relationship with WLAD is through the IGA,” Abel said. “And we did actually specify duties that were included in there and good discussions of qualifications, education and years. The boards had some really great input and I think we have nailed this down.”
Director Hickson has been working with Abel and Green, along with WLAD Directors Ric Yecny and Larry Farnsworth, to rewrite the job requirements for the Chief Director position and said he feels the new description better represents the needs of the district.
“We hammered some things out and there were clarifications in some areas, in terms of job descriptions and expectations —what we would prefer to see and what we were willing to consider. And this plan is one of the reasons we really wanted to hire Steve. His proposal for what it was going to take to find a permanent chief was very well thought out, specific and comprehensive,” Hickson said.
The next meeting of the SVFR will be held Wednesday, Dec. 19, in a joint meeting with the WLAD Board of Directors at SVFR Station 1.