January Fire Board Meeting Minutes

Garden City Fire District

Board Meeting

January 16, 2014

Board Members in Attendance:  Terry Allen (acting as chairman until new board members were voted in), Perry Wakefield, Randall Knight, Christina Gracie, Brian House

Others in Attendance:  Mike Wahlberg, Tiffany Wahlberg, Anita Weston, Chris Coray, Andy Stokes, Ben Negus, Tom Weston

 Welcome to new board members:  Brian House and Howard Pope.  Motion to accept new members by Perry Wakefield, 2nd by Christina, vote was unanimous.  Howard Pope was unable to attend the meeting.  Brian House joined the board at this time.  Chris Coray asked what happened with the elected official issue.  The commissioner, the city, and the fire board looked into the issue, however, they learned that while the state recommend there be an elected official, it is not required.  The county commissioners voted to put Tom Weston on the board, however, they will be undoing that at their next meeting to put Brian House on instead.

Christina nominated Perry Wakefield as chairman, 2nd by Brian.  No other nominations were put forward.  Vote was unanimous to accept Perry as the chairman.

Terry stepped down from the board at this time and Perry took over as chairman.  Tom Weston stated he would like to thank Terry for his service on the board and as chairman.  He was a great asset to the fire district.

Brian nominated Randall for secretary, 2nd by Christina, vote was unanimous.
Approval of Past Minutes:  Motion to approve the past minutes with one change-Christina abstained from the vote to accept Randall as the new member by Randall,  2nd by Brian, vote was unanimous.

Items for Follow-Up:

New Fire Board members:  see above

Policies and procedures manual revision:  Randall suggested he take on revising the manual.  Tiffany suggested that the board take sections and revise it a section at a time so that it wouldn’t be such a large project.  The issues Randall would like to look at soon would be the leave sections, the per diem rates, and the holidays.  Randall will look at those for the next meeting and will email the suggested revisions to the board.

Tower for fireboat:  Mike stated that the fire boat is winterized.  He would like to hold off on this until April.  The board agreed.  Tiffany stated she would continue to put it in items for follow-up, but it could just be skipped each month.

Fire Chief employment contract, 90 day probation:  Randall asked that this be discussed since there were new board members.  Randall asked if Mike had a written contract and when the 90 days would be up.  Mike was hired on December 4 and has no written contract.  Tiffany will email the contract that was used with Dan to the board and Mike.  After the board makes changes, they should get it reviewed by the county attorney.  Brian asked Tom Weston if there was a new county attorney.  Tom stated that Gary was hired from Weber County for 1 year to fill the position temporarily.  Tom could not remember his last name or contact information, but would get the information to the board.

Voting for Officers:  see above

Rain gutters:  The rain gutters arrived yesterday.  They will be installed as weather permits.  Brandon and Mike will put baffles above the gutters to try to keep the snow from curling over and will also install heat tape.  The rain gutters were right around $900, so it will it will come in under budget.

Financial statements and agreed upon procedures:  Tiffany stated that since the review has changed this year and will be an Agreed Upon Procedures review, the board needs to make a few decisions.  They need to decide whether to have the same firm handle it or put it out for bid, and whether to have Tiffany prepare the financial statements or have the firm do so.  Motion to have Woods Richards handle the procedure review have Tiffany prepare the financial statements by Christina, 2nd by Brian, vote was unanimous.

 Items for discussion:

Employee contract and benefit finalization status:  see above

Clarify the work relationship of the CPA with the fire district:  Randall stated he had asked Tiffany to cover this since there were new board members and they were not all familiar with the agreement.  Tiffany stated that Randall had asked he to cover two items-her contract, and her relationship with the fire chief.  Tiffany is a subcontractor hired and supervised by the fire board.  She is paid $60 per hour plus direct expenses.  For example, there is a training she attends every year that relates specifically to the fire district that the fire district pays for.  She also stated that when she prepared the financial statements in the past she was paid $1,000 for doing so, but that could be worked out at a later meeting.  As for the relationship between Tiffany and the fire chief, Tiffany stated that some citizens in the community had expressed concern over the relationship and the way it relates to the state’s nepotism laws.  She stated that since she is a subcontractor hired and supervised by the board there was no issue here.  Mike is also hired and supervised by the board.  Tiffany did not hire Mike and Mike did not hire Tiffany.  They are both supervised by the board, and not by each other.  Also, Tiffany does not sign Mike’s check and Mike does not sign Tiffany’s check.  Therefore, there is no issue.  Tiffany also stated that if there was an issue, that she would be the one to step down.  She feels that the board made the right decision in hiring Mike and that he will be a great asset to the fire district.  Therefore, she would step down before she would allow Mike’s position to be compromised.  She then reaffirmed that there is no issue and anyone who has concerns is welcome to talk to her, the board, or the state.

Leadership positions filled:  see above

New tech rescue squad proposal:  Mike has appointed Travis Hobbs as a captain.  He is a good fire fighter.  He is a wildland engine boss, which is quite a lofty achievement.  The guys all like him.  Mike has also created a Lieutenant position, for which he has appointed Brandon Weatherston.  His job is to fill in for captains who are not available.  He would also be expected to fill a vacant captain position.  Mike stated he may appoint another Lieutenant.  He has not appointed an assistant chief at this time, as he would like to take the time to view how the individuals work together.

Mike will be forming a tech rescue squad.  His intention is to offer this to all of the agencies in the county.  This would fill the niche between the search & rescue and fire district.  This would cover rope rescues, extrication, structure collapse, and trench rescue.  The trainings would be held with Cache and Box Elder.  There is a joint monthly tech rescue drill in Cache County.  Mike has worked with Chief Hammer on this and will set up a mutual aid agreement once the training has been completed.  Mike would like to fill the position with members of search & rescue, EMS and fire.  Mike stated that in his assessment of the district’s weakness, the rescue area is the the biggest weakness.  The district has most of the equipment already in place.  However, there may be a few items needed to outfit the other areas of the county.  Randall asked how many members there would be.  Mike would like to have 8.  Mike stated that Andy and Ben took some rope rescue courses at winter fire school, so they would likely be the first two members.

Increased firefighter numbers and impact:  There has been over a 50% increase in fire fighters since the last board meeting, from 17-26, and there is at least one other individual who is interested.  The district is now stretched on resources to cover new firefighters.  This allows the district to be more selective on new volunteers.  The district is now able to do different levels of training each month, so that there is a beginning group and a more advanced group.  The goal is that by April, the new firefighters will be brought up to a Fire I proficiency.  They will not have the course at that point, since it requires a lot of hours.  Ben stated that his last training was the best one he had been to.  He has been on the district through a few chiefs.  Randall asked if the course was held regularly.  Mike stated that the district had put that together.  If there were only a few that needed it, he would send them to Bridgerland, however, where there are so many, the district will need to put together a course.  He will need to schedule it so that the whole county would be able to participate in that course, so it will most likely be next winter.  Randall asked if the PPE was given to Laketown as discussed in November.  Mike stated that he was able to give those over, and still outfit everyone.  He will need to purchase a couple helmets and shoes for individuals with special sizing needs.  Mike stated that he spoke with North Logan and found that we are outfitted very similarly to that district.  The area covered by both districts are very similar as well.

Winter fire school report-There were 5 guys who went to winter fire school.  All took courses which should greatly benefit the fire district.

Building interior remodel:  Mike would like to start this now so that the building can be ready for spring.  He would like to put tile in the entry way, carpet the meeting area and offices.  He will add a small kitchenette and change the bathroom access.  This will help make the building ready to be an EOC shelter with sleeping quarters, bathroom facilities, office, etc.  Chris Coray asked if there is a generator.  Mike stated there is one, and there is also a battery backup.  He is working on setting up the wiring for it.  Christina asked if the EOC program would cover some of the cost.  Mike stated he had looked into that, but Bryce Nielsen did not think it was an option.  Bryce asked him to also move some of the electronics so that they would be accessible in a private office.  Brian asked Mike to look into getting a large enough generator to run the whole building and see if Bryce could assist with some funding.  Chris asked if this was needed, would it work as is.  Mike stated that yes it would work, however, these items would help make it run better.  Brian asked if there were MREs.  Mike stated that there are some on the trucks.  There is also a refrigerator with water and Gatorade.

Chris Coray asked if the website was up and running.  He stated that the information was all from last month.  He asked if the district was moving ahead with the contract with the Stockings.  Mike stated that some of this was probably his issue, since he had not gotten the agenda to Joey.  Also, some of this will be put off until the volunteers and officers are decided.  Joey is also showing Mike how to do some of the updating.  Mike will be adding Joey to all of the emails of the district.

Vehicle/Equipment/Station Service Requests:  Mike just put one in for the light bar on the IC truck, which went out during an incident.  Mike will look into it and get assistance from the sheriff’s office as needed.  Also, the brakes on IC need to be replaced and Mike will take care of that hopefully tomorrow.  No other issues.

Purchase Requisitions:  None this month

Equipment Status:  Everything is up and running

Responses:  2 accidents, 1 traffic assist, 1 mutual aid for a structure fire in Woodruff, 1 propane leak, 1 burn permit, 5 medical assists

New or Miscellaneous Business:  Randall asked about advertisements for the Cisco Disco and Polar Plunge.  Mike stated that the first polar plunge was put on by the district, however, the Chamber quickly took it over.  Mike has helped them put it together, however, has backed off a little on the hours spent.  With all of the issues the district is now dealing with, he is letting them handle the majority of it.  The district will pay the fee for the guys and will donate the one hour pay for the guys who jump in to be given to the charity.  The Cisco Disco will not involve the district.  They had asked if the district would be willing to donate the cooking equipment so that Laketown could do a fundraising meal, however Laketown did not feel they could get the participation this year.  The fry will still take place on Cisco Beach at 9 on the 25th, but will handled by Scott Tolentino.

Northern Region Rapid Response Team is requesting that the county put two individual through Hazmat Technician training.  This will be done with grant funding.  There is a time deadline for the funds.  They are offering a 2 week, 120 hours training course, probably in Ogden.  The individuals must be available for the region team.  After the techs are trained, the grants would also provide the equipment.  Mike would like to do the training or find two other individuals.  Those individuals could be called if there is an incident in the northern region.  They would not pay time, lodging, meals, etc during that training.  Mike would like to find some funding, since the guys would be taking time off work to do the training.  The first set of funding would expire March 31, the second by April or May, the third by August.  The training would most likely be in April.  Mike asked that if anyone was interested, they contact him.  Tom Weston asked if Bryce had any funds available.  Mike stated that Bryce was not able to attend the meeting and Mike has been unable to reach him, but will continue.  The city has done an annual grant for emergency responders, and Mike will look to see if some of those funds might be available.  The grant will pay for backfill, meaning someone to cover Mike if he went, but it doesn’t pay the individual going to the training.  Ben Negus stated that since the other trailer is in Randolph, it would be great to get someone from that area.  Mike stated that would be his preference as well, however, if there is not an individual available, then he will send whomever is available.  Mike also asked that he be approved to take that training if he does not find another individual.  The board all agreed.

Review and Approval of Current Expense Invoices

Items for follow-up: 

Policies and Procedures-Leave, per diem, and holiday-Randall

Tower for Fire Boat-table until April-Mike

Fire Chief Contract/90 day probation-Randall

Building Interior Remodel-Mike


Northern Region Rapid Response Team-Mike