Sept. 1, 2018 — Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue (SVFR) and Western Lane Ambulance District (WLAD) board members held a joint meeting at SVFR Station 1 on Thursday evening.
The special meeting was held to give the directors from both boards an opportunity to chart a clear path forward as they face uncertainty regarding the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for administration between the two entities.
The impending departure of Chief Director Jim Langborg and the recently reported $500,000 financial shortage facing SVFR were the impetus for the timing of the meeting, which comes on the heels of board meetings held separately by both entities in the last weeks.
During the public comment period, Lori Severance, coordinator of SVFR’s Community Support Team, spoke in defense of the work done by Langborg in the face of what she perceived as hostile and disrespectful treatment of the chief in the regular SVFR board meeting on Aug. 15.
“I’ve worked under a number of administrators over the years and I have to say that working for Chief Langborg at this late stage in my career has been a very satisfying experience. I have never worked for anyone in all my years who has been as fiercely devoted to his staff and volunteers and the community in which he serves,” Severance said. “I attended the last board meeting and, to use a term that was thrown around quite a bit in that meeting, I was pretty appalled by the amount of outright hostility and disrespect shown to Chief Langborg.”
Severance then said that other employees and volunteers in the districts were intimidated by the anger directed at Langborg and were not willing to share their support for fear of retribution.
“It’s sad that people feel intimidated by the hostile behavior of a few and feel unable to express their satisfaction with the leadership of SVFR and WLAD,” she said.
Severance’s comments were met with a simple thank you from WLAD Director Rick Yecny, who was chairing the meeting, and the group moved to the next item on the agenda.
Next, SVFR/WLAD Office Manager Dina McClure presented an updated financial report to the directors. She emphasized in her report the nature of the financial shortfall that rocked the SVFR board meeting last week.
“The situation with SVFR is not a cash shortage but a cash flow issue,” McClure said.
McClure than directed the attention of the directors to the updated financial information that she and retired CPA Kathy Taylor had compiled to answer questions from the directors, and the public, that have arisen since the revelation of a looming financial shortfall for the SVFR district surfaced last week.
These figures show that recently received reimbursements for fire support missions and equipment purchases, coupled with expected tax receipts, may negate the need for the district to borrow money to meet its financial obligations.
The total owed to SVFR as of June 30 was $432,756, with reimbursements of $297,240 recently received — and $179,521 in process of being collected.
The updated information provided by McClure was accepted after a couple of brief questions were answered with the assistance of Taylor.
McClure also pointed out the financials from WLAD were positive and no shortfall was expected for the ambulance district.
Directors Ron Greene, from SVFR, and Larry Farnsworth, from WLAD, both spoke positively of the work McClure had done in compiling the information presented and expressed confidence in her ability moving forward.
The next portion of the meeting addressed the IGA shared between SVFR and WLAD.
A working group of members from both boards have created a charter that outlines the process that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the IGA and to determine the future of the agreement.
“We’ve met a couple of times and we’ve come back with a proposed charter,” Yecny said. “A charter is kind of like a mission statement. What are we here for and what’s our purpose … so our hope is that this will guide the work we do on this committee in regard to the IGA.”
According to the text from the charter, the IGA Review Committee’s purpose is to review and measure the effectiveness of IGAs between the two districts and to make recommendations for improving such agreements.
Under the charter, the committee intends to:
The proposed charter had been circulated prior to its introduction to the joint boards, so board members held little discussion. The motion to accept the charter was seconded and passed unanimously.