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8/17/2013 3:36:00 PM
CVFD, MRFD consider shared services
Districts not likely to share fire chief
CVFD board member George Kleindienst, on considerations for CVFD and MRFD to share a fire chief: Its one person working for two bosses. Ive never seen it work.
CVFD board member George Kleindienst, on considerations for CVFD and MRFD to share a fire chief: Its one person working for two bosses. Ive never seen it work.
Linda Welsch
Linda Welsch

Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE - Camp Verde Fire District and Montezuma-Rimrock Fire District are considering the possibility of sharing services.

But the two agencies will not be sharing a fire chief. At least not for now.

At Thursday's CVFD board meeting, the board considered the pros and cons of partnering with MRFD - and utilizing Terry Keller, MRFD chief. Ultimately, the board could not agree whether to split a single fire chief's duties between the two agencies.

The board's lack of consensus has nothing to do with the job that Keller has done for MRFD. Board members had good things to say about the neighboring community's fire chief.

"I'm really impressed with Chief Keller," said CVFD board member Gwen Gunnell. "His ideas, his planning, his foresight. I wish we could get him to be our fire chief."

"Chief Keller sounds like a great fire chief," board member Linda Welsch said. "I think he should apply for the [open CVFD chief] position."

CVFD will continue its search for a replacement for Chief Clayton Young, who will be retiring in January 2014.

Though Welsch said she liked the job that Keller has done with MRFD, wanting CVFD to employ its own fire chief is important to her.

"You can call it shared services," Welsch said. "I call it a part-time fire chief. Our job is to provide the best services. I don't see how that would happen this way. Our line deserves a full-time fire chief."

CVFD Chairperson Steve Darby does not agree that sharing a fire chief would diminish the district's services. He sees it as "an opportunity to be innovative, to share a chief with two small departments."

"I'm not aligned one way or the other," Darby told his fellow board members. "It's just something I want us to explore."

According to Welsch, shared services could possibly mean shared firefighters. And she is not in support of that.

"Either we're going to be loaning crew or cutting crew," she said. "If I'm having a heart attack, I want everyone to show up."

Not all concerns with a shared fire chief revolved around firefighting. Speaking to the board, Camp Verde Mayor Charlie German asked the board to consider what the move could mean to the community's long-term growth.

"I'm hesitant, because of the perception to homeowners," German said. "What you're saying with a part-time fire chief is that you're not ready for the prime time. If I'm a developer and I'm going to invest in the community, I'm looking at a lot of things. If I get the idea that you're going to have a part-time fire chief, I'm going to look at other opportunities. My concern is that you'll be sending the wrong message. My main concern is how that would be read by people who may become a part of the community. I'd hate to see that happen. I'd say do your homework. Be careful of the perception you give to people who would be moving in [to Camp Verde]. The volunteers need a fire chief they can follow and risk their lives for."

Though the board has not agreed to split fire chief duties between the two fire districts, members did elect to continue discussing other shared services.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Peppermint Patti

If CV and MR FD's are going to combine... why did MRFD have that big referendum last year, that raised all our property taxes so high
Those on a fixed income cannot stay in their homes because of increased taxes and prices...
It is so unfair to these people!

We passed that referendum so we would have our own STABLE, FD in Beaver Creek... Now you're gong to share our department with another???

Is this the first step for Camp Verde to annex Beaver Creek???
We know this has been their plan for a long while.
We don't want to be tied into Camp Verde's agendas of intimidation! (Hence, the CVPD going all black in their colors.)

WE would have NOT voted for that expensive referendum that fire fighters went door to door to get us to pass it. Unfair. .....SO UNFAIR...

It may be criminal to hoodwink voters in the way they are planning this "combination"... It seems we were decieved!!! What a crock!

I understand RMFD customers pay far greater taxes than most FD's districts in the country. Please tell me that is not true.
... God help them if they try and do this.........

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