Workshop Meeting Minutes – April 15, 2013

Garden City Fire District


April 15, 2013

 Board Members in Attendance:  Terry Allen, Travis Hobbs, Randall Knight

Others in Attendance:  Dan Kurek, Tiffany Wahlberg, Anita Weston, Chris Coray, John Spuhler, Mark Hislop, Kathy Hislop, Bruce Willden, Mike Leonhardt, Wendy Cronin, Brian House, Chuck Stocking

Compensatory (Comp) Time:  At a previous board meeting, the board had decided that at the end of each quarter, the comp time would be cleared up.  However, at the end of the quarter issues came up and the comp time was not used.  Some board members felt that the issue is due to time management.  Terry felt that was not the issue this time, but that there were many things happening that saved the district more money than what the comp time would have cost the department.  Randall brought up the point that there should be some sort of provision so that the board could make adjustments if needed.  At board meeting, the board decided to allow Dan to carry his time into the next quarter this time.  Travis said his biggest concern is that the quarter is a great idea, except that for the last week of the quarter this does not allow for any leeway.  Mike Leonhardt asked how the city managed their comp time.  The city used to have a big problem with comp time.  The city now manages that very closely.  The city limits the number of hours and the employees watch their time very closely.  Bruce mentioned that the fire chief is going to be doing the short term rental inspections as well, so that would add to his over time.  The board just wants the time managed as well it can be managed.  The policy as written allows the board to judge whether it was mismanagement of time or a necessary desire.  The board does not want to punish Dan for working hard.  Travis asked that Dan give the board as much warning as possible.  Dan stated he calls Terry.  Travis asked that maybe Dan could notify the board at the board meeting as much as possible.  Randall stated that the board made the decision to make Dan a non-exempt employee and that was a big mistake.  Travis stated that it is not the board’s decision, but a federal law.  Randall stated that he disagreed and feels Dan qualifies as an exempt employee.  He also stated that in his research the FLSA shows that comp time should be allowed over 26 pay periods, so he should be allowed to use it over that time.  Dan stated he feels that it is unfair to say that the board has the discretion, because at the last meeting it was almost voted that he would lose everything.  Dan would like to be able to use his comp time over the next month following the quarter.  Tiffany mentioned that Ben and Christina asked that the board contact them if giving 3 extra months was discussed.  They would like to be involved in that discussion.  Terry would like to leave it at the month for now and see if it worked, but anything more than that would be discussed and voted on in a board meeting.  Terry would like to see Dan manage his time to ensure that it did not become an issue in future quarters.  Dan stated that he has been scheduling his hours so that he is working here during the training course to open and close the building, but not teach the course.  He has adjusted his other hours.  Terry stated that if Dan has a lot of comp time at the end of the next quarter the board would want to discuss it anyways.  So for now it will stay the same.  It will be discussed again in June.  Dan stated he will have last quarter’s hours used up by next week.  Randall stated that his main concern is that in watching his time, Dan will short-change the department in writing grants, etc.  Terry stated that is the reason this issue is being discussed.  Randall stated that there will be more grants.  Terry stated that there should be time in his normal hours to write those grants in most cases.  Bruce stated that he would like to learn the grant writing process and assist Dan with those.  Travis stated that the board is very appreciative of all the firefighters who are willing to put in hours and for all the training that has been taking place.  Wendy Cronin mentioned that all the instructors have been very helpful and dedicated to helping them learn.

 Short Term Rental Inspections:  At the last meeting, the question was brought up as to what code these inspections have been done under.  The answer is that the inspections were being done under both commercial and residential code.  The board did not feel that the guidelines were clear enough and therefore, asked Dan to not perform inspections until this could be clarified.  Terry contacted the county attorney’s assistant, Joe Chambers, who told him that the inspections should be done under commercial code, however some cities will exempt some portion of the commercial code if they felt it was appropriate.  Travis stated that he feels it would be impossible for these rentals to meet all the commercial codes.  The problem is that the residential is at one extreme and the commercial is at the other end.  These businesses can’t meet the commercial code.  Travis stated that we need to follow the guideline from the attorney and make sure we are not creating liability.  John Spuhler asked the city attorney for a response.  The letter is attached to the minutes.  The letter basically said that they were inspecting under the IRC (International Residential Code).

Dan Kurek contacted the Park City Fire Marshall.  He said they use a commercial inspection form, but exempt fire sprinklers (unless already installed or required) and ADA.  Phil Mosier from Moab inspects as residential, but must have all life safety issues and have a written plan for changing out detectors, etc.  Inspect as R3 unless the building inspector changes it to and R1.  Logan City also inspects as an R3.  They use the same form as what Dan has been using.  Brianhead public safety also uses the same requirements we have been using.  Dan also called the State Fire Marshall.  He said there is more liability by not inspecting them than by doing the inspections as currently taking place.  Bruce Willden asked how the short-term rental $100 fee is divided.  The fire district has not been currently charging.  This is how this came about.  The fire district was discussing charging a fee, however they wanted to make sure the inspections had been performed correctly.  John Spuhler said it would only be reasonable to compensate the district if it was taking a lot of time.  Travis asked if this is better done by the city building inspector.  John Spuhler felt that Dan does a very good job and fire issues are his specialty.  Mike Leonhardt asked how often the inspection takes place.  Dan inspects only the first year, unless something has changed.  Randall asked if there should be a biannual inspection to ensure that everything is in good working order.  John Spuhler stated that this is a growing industry, so to have these inspections annually or biannually would take up a lot of time for the city and fire employees.  Terry Allen also stated that Joe Chambers stated that many of these homes have not notified their insurance companies that they are renting.  The city stated that they do require a statement that this has been done.  Terry Allen said that Richard Moseley from the Fire Marshalls office also stated that many short-term rentals in rural areas are being rented out on a weekly basis and then people are cooking meth in them.  He warned that this is something to watch out for.  John Spuhler stated that the homeowners are required to sign that they are keeping up on the items and therefore, they are responsible for it.  Travis asked if the city would be willing to give us a specific checklist.  Tiffany Wahlberg asked if there could be some clarifications as to what Dan inspects versus what Geo inspects.  John stated that the list from the attorney is pretty rough based on 3 towns.  Dan went through the list and explained what he currently inspects and what Geo currently inspects.  Terry stated he would like to see Dan get together with the city and go through the international building code to set up a checklist.  Travis stated his preference would be that Geo handle all of it.  Terry explained that he would rather Dan handle the fire items.  The board stated that once a checklist was put together and reviewed by Dan and the board, they would be great with the inspections resuming.  The city would also be willing to collect the fee.  Mark Hislop explained that he appreciates Dan doing the inspection because he does catch things that the homeowners are missing.  Mike Leonhardt stated that the benefit to having Dan do this is that Dan has been in the home and knows the layout so that if something does happen he will have prior knowledge that will help.  Travis asked how many inspections we are talking about.  Dan stated he has about 10 waiting on inspections now.  There are 25-30/year.  Most in April, May and June.  Dan said he averages 2-3 times before all items are met.  A fee around $30 should cover the costs of Dan’s salary and fuel.  The city could collect it.  Randall mentioned that perhaps there should be an additional fee for more than 2-3 inspections.  That would encourage them to finish everything before calling for a re-inspection.  Kathy asked that the city only bill for the initial fee, but the Fire District invoice for the additional amounts, if needed.  The city could state that over 3 inspections, the homeowner will be billed for additional inspections from the Fire District.  Terry, John and Dan will meet Wednesday at 2pm with Geo to come up with a checklist, then the fire board will vote on this at board meeting Thursday night.