Garden City Fire District
June 20, 2013
Board Members in Attendance: Ben Negus, Christina Gracey, Randall Knight
Others in Attendance: ….., Anita Weston, Kathy Anderson, Andy Stokes, Tom Wahlberg, ….Riley Argyle, Bruce Willden
Approval of Past Minutes: Randall asked that a change be made to clarify that he asked for the recurring expenses in order to ensure that the district will stay within budget.
Items for Follow-Up:
Fire Boat: Dan has been working on redoing the deck. Delmas Equipment has been working on it. Christina asked why it has taken this long to finish and it was not done in April. Dan stated that he hasn’t had time to get to it. He stated that the engine has broken down twice in that time and there have been other issues.
Tender 40: The tender has been adjusted to the right height for the trailer. Ben asked if it seemed
I.C. 40: Dan stated that he has not yet taken it in, that he made the engine the priority.
Brush 40 pump: Part is in now and Dan will get it fixed.
DMV reports & Fire Fighter Drug testing (Action Item): Dan stated that this was something that was discussed in Captain’s meeting. The firefighters are driving big heavy equipment and could do a lot of damage. The district would like to pull DMV reports and do random drug testing for each of the fire fighters. Ben asked what the cost was. Dan stated the DMV report was $6 and the Sheriff stated he has extras he would be willing to give the department. Ben asked if it would be random or how it would be handled. Dan would like to test across the board to begin and then random after that. Ben asked the firefighters in the audience what their feelings are. Tom stated that as the training officer, he could be held liable as could the chief. He would like to be safe by testing and looking at DMV actions. Andy stated he was okay with it. Riley stated he didn’t think the district had an issue, but he would be okay with testing to verify. Everyone agreed that there was probably not an issue, but agreed it is probably a good idea. Ben stated he leans towards it, but would like to look into it a little more. The board agreed to table this until next month.
Approval of retirement rates (Action Item): Motion by Ben to approve and accept the state rate of 18.1%, 2nd by Randall. Vote was unanimous.
Electronic Meetings (Tiffany): The board needs to be sure to follow the resolution that was put in place to allow the use of electronic meetings. Dan read the resolution and a copy is attached. The board needs to make sure that a quorum exists prior to the electronic meeting as the resolution. Dan stated that he asked LeGrand Bitner and he stated that the board could do it either way. Ben stated that he felt it should be written to allow the quorum to be met. Randall stated he felt that there should be a quorum in the building. Christina agreed with Ben. The board decided to table this until next meeting.
Procedures (Tiffany): (delayed to end of meeting after closed session)-Tiffany went over the agreed upon procedures and what steps will be taken in next year’s audit. The audit will be more about following procedures and less about dollars. There are a few procedures that the board needs to make sure are being followed that Tiffany has questions about. The board set limits as to what dollar amounts need to be approved prior to purchase and what needs to go up for bid. Tiffany asked Dan to note on the invoices when the purchase had been approved. The board agreed that would be a good idea and Dan agreed to do so. The board members need to attend training annually. There are a few board members who did not go to the training this year. They all agreed to do the online training. There is also a training required for the GRAMA board member, who would be Ben. Ben stated he would go online and do the training.
Compensation for Minutes (Action Item): The board had decided to pay Kathy $15/hour for 2.5 hours. Ben made the motion to pay Kathy that amount, 2nd by Christina, vote was unanimous.
Short-Term Rental Inspection Fee & MOU (Action Item): Dan sent the MOU to everyone and reviewed it with the county attorney. The attorney’s only recommendation was to make the document a living document so that it could be amended as needed. This could be done as an additional paragraph or a cover letter. Randall stated the policies and procedures do allow for a $50 fee for additional inspections. Tiffany stated that the policies do allow it, but the board will need to do a resolution to adopt the fee schedule. Motion to accept the MOU as written, with the change the attorney recommended by Christina. 2nd by Ben. Vote was unanimous.
Wildland Equipment (action item): Dan stated that when the district uses grants to purchase wildland equipment it seems like individuals hold on to that equipment and don’t bring it back. He is okay with not bringing back the boots, but he wants clarification that the equipment the district purchases is the property of the district and needs to be returned. Some firefighters have chosen to purchase their own equipment, which is great. However, if the district uses a grant and then gives it to someone, that is inappropriate. Ben stated that he feels if the district purchases the equipment, then it should remain with the district. Dan stated that one of the previous firefighters had $700 of equipment that needed to be returned. That firefighter had been told members of the board that that equipment had been charged to him and deducted from his paycheck. Tiffany stated that the rate he was paid was determined by backing out payroll taxes, insurance, and use of the districts vehicle/equipment. The board felt that Dan needed to call the individuals and ask for it to be returned or inform them they would be invoiced for it. They did not feel a motion was necessary.
Wildland Grant (follow up): Dan stated that although they have not officially been notified, the state did tell Dan that the district has been awarded $14,000. The grant will pay for PPE (structure gear). Christina asked if the ladder truck grant had ever been finalized. Dan stated that it was turned in last June and the district has not heard back. He stated that usually the district would hear back in January or February, but no departments have heard yet.
Vehicle/Equipment/Station Service Requests: High pressure relief valve on CAFS-Dan is working on this. Engine 40 tire chains are hanging and will hit rocks, etc.-Dan state he is looking into it to see if he can move it up. Ladder 40-Slow to start and needs to be started daily. Dan stated that the state guy gave him a procedure to follow to start it. Dan said he has been informing the firefighters of that procedure and when it is followed, it has been working. Engine 40-Transmission slips out of gear. Dan took it to Transport Diesel and they worked on it. It worked fine all the way back, but then started doing it again during the national guard training. Dan has worked on it again and there was a connector on top of the transmission that was loose. It seems to be working now.
Purchase Requisitions: None
Equipment Status: There has been an issue with a vehicle not starting due to a radio being left on. Ben asked if there could be a sticker reminding the firefighters to turn everything off. Riley suggested putting a disconnect on it. Dan stated it is pretty complicated. This has been a recurring issue. Riley volunteered to assist Dan with wiring a switch that would not allow the radio to come on until the key is turned on.
Responses; 10 short-term rentals, 19 fire pit inspections, 6 business inspections, 6 medical assists, fire alarm at school, CO call. Ben asked if this is the same location that the district has been to before. Dan stated that it was, but that the reading was in a different location. Tom stated that the ambulance did check the residents. They were borderline, but after discussion with the doctor, they were not transported. The city revoked the short-term license until it is resolved. Ben asked what the procedure is on these calls, if they ask residents to fix it. Dan stated that typically by the time the district gets there the windows and doors are all it has been aired out. He tells them that if it happens again, get out and leave everything closed so that they can see the reading. Ben stated that he is concerned with why the problem wasn’t fixed the first time. Riley suggested that on short-term rentals, he feels the district should inform the city that there has been an issue and they should ensure it is fixed. Andy stated the city is revising the short-term rental policies to allow the permit to be revoked until any issues have been resolved.
New or Miscellaneous Business: Dan stated he spoke with the county commissioners and they are going to hold a meeting with all fire chiefs and the states to come up with a plan for the summer. Some parts of the state have begun restrictions.
Rewrite of 4-03(2) in policies and procedures in regards to holiday hours. (Action Item): (delayed to end of meeting): Policy states that overtime is based on actual hours worked and holiday hours. Based on the state requirements, this is based on hours worked only. We have discussed this in the past, but the board was not sure it got voted on. Motion by Ben, 2nd by Christina, vote was unanimous.
Tiffany stated that Randall had asked her on a few occasions why Dan could not be treated as exempt. This issue has been discussed at several meetings. The board had looked at the rules regarding exemption from the overtime standards and had decided that in order for Dan to be considered exempt his primary duty would have had to be management, which Dan has always stated that it was not. His primary duty is firefighting. The board felt that Dan’s primary duty varied between firefighting and management and did not feel that they could treat him as exempt.
Dan had worked more than 32 hours on most of the weeks that included holidays, and he felt that by not getting comp time for the hours over 32, he was losing his holidays. The board had discussed this on several occasions and explained to Dan that he did not get comp time for holiday, vacation, or sick hours. Comp time is based on hours actually worked during the week. Dan had told Tiffany that a lady from the state told him that he had to be compensated for those hours and that he should be able to take those hours off on another week if he had worked too many during the holiday. On Dan’s timecards, he took the holiday hours from Memorial Day on the next week, rather than taking them on Memorial Day. Tiffany stated that she was pretty sure that the board had been right about the comp time calculation, but since it was becoming an issue again, she had called the Department of Labor for clarification. Tiffany stated that she was told that comp time is based on hours actually worked, not on holiday, sick or vacation. She was also told that since the fire district has repeatedly had issues, perhaps they should look into treating Dan as an exempt employee. Tiffany explained the discussions that had taken place previously, and how the board did not feel they could say that Dan’s primary duty was management. The Department of Labor stated that there was another exemption to the overtime rules. If a fire district or police department employees less than 5 employees, all of those employees are exempt from the overtime rules. Tiffany explained that the fire district had 20 paid on call firefighters. The DOL asked what the pay structure was and whether the firefighters were required to be at all fires and meetings. She asked several other questions about the paid on call firefighters. The DOL then told Tiffany that the paid on call firefighters were considered volunteers and not employees for overtime standards, therefore the district has only 1 full time employee and he is exempt from the overtime rules. She recommended that the district treat Dan as exempt in order to avoid the issues with his hours and the complaints from both Dan and Randall.
Firefighter Employment (Christina): (delayed to end of meeting ): Motion to go to closed session by Ben, 2nd by Christina, vote was unanimous. Christina and Ben asked Tiffany to stay to answer some questions. Tiffany asked that she only stay as long as she is relevant, then be allowed to leave. The board agreed.
The motion was made to return to the open meeting by Christina, 2nd by Randall, vote was unanimous.
Randall made the motion to make Dan an exempt employee and have him work 40 hours per week. Ben 2nd, vote was unanimous. Ben asked that it be clarified that Dan work a minimum of 40 hours per week, but that if there is a call after the 40 hours, then they still expect Dan to work. He still has a job to do and that job still needed to be done. The 40 hours was a minimum. Ben stated that he thinks that was the originally agreement when Dan was hired. Dan said yes, it was.
Review and Approval of Current Expense Invoices
Motion to close the meeting by Randall, 2nd by Christina, vote was unanimous.