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Del Norte Fire Protection District talks about audit

Posted: Friday, May 4th, 2012

Editorís note: This is an amended report of the April 19 meeting, correcting some misuderstandings.

Staff Report

SOUTH FORK ó The Del Norte Fire Protection District (DNFPD) met Thursday, April 19, at the South Fork fire station.

Public Comments

The meeting began with longtime DNFPD secretary Christine Wright reading a letter to the board about why she resigned. Old Business

The DNFPD board talked about the need for fireproof cabinets. The board also approved opening a general account at the Del Norte Bank. They said there were no bids for a water heater repair on the Forest Service truck, but they are still seeking them.

The board asked the South Fork Fire Department (SFFD)why they havenít handed in their records for the required yearly audit. Board members said they and Wall, Smith and Bateman have contacted Chief Tyler Off multiple times but he had not responded to them.

Off was not at the meeting due to out of town training, but SFFD Deputy Chief Jonathon Gilbert was. Gilbert said he was unable to answer for Off and did not know why the records were not handed in. He said he would inform Off about the 9 a.m. Monday deadline they imposed.

Gilbert said he wanted to shift focus and asked the board if it was appropriate for a board member to come up to the incident commander during a fire and speak inappropriately.

He said he was referring to recent fire when a board member, Claude Trujillo, came on scene and began yelling at Gilbert, who was incident commander.

The board asked him to talk to Trujillo directly because, as they understood it, he was on scene in fire gear and was there as a firefighter, not as a board member. His son, Gilbert Trujillo, is the Del Norte Fire Chief.

The board then questioned Deputy Chief Gilbert as to why proper personal protection equipment (PPE), full bunker gear, was not worn by all personnel. He said it wasnít required for that type of fire. The board disagreed and said full bunker gear should be worn for a firemanís protection and it must always be documented in fire reports. They asked if that was being done, and Gilbert said he does not include PPE in his documentation and never has.

DNFD presented a proposal for updated PPEó wild land fire protection equipment, ó which the board approved in the amount of $13,160. New Business

The board continued the new business portion of the meeting, according to Roberts Rules of Order, until 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, at the Del Norte Firehouse because Chief Off was not there to discuss the matters that involved SFFD.

Chief Responds to audit records

Chief Off said in a phone interview that his records are ready. He said he did have one email from Wall, Smith and Bateman two weeks ago. He said the fire districtís secretary resigned in February and she always reconciled the books against the receipts before they were handed over for the annual audit.

Off said he has been in the process of doing this, but it was slow because he has a day job. This is a volunteer position and canít take all of his time. He said the 9 a.m. Monday deadline would be met with no problem.

He said he thought the real issue with board members was about South Fork wanting to split from the district and felt the board was looking for reasons to change the management in South Fork because they donít want to entertain the idea of splitting from the DNFPD.

Off said DNFPD should be proud that South Fork has grown up enough to be on its own and should think seriously about allowing the split to occur. He said this will take some time.

He said ISO ratings are part of the districtís long-term plans, but a mill levy increase has never been on the table.

Monday April 23 Meeting

The Monday April 23 meeting was cancelled due to a lack of a quorum. Chief Off said SFFD met the 9 a.m. audit deadline.

Elections scheduled

Fire Protection District Board Elections will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Polling places for the Del Norte and South Fork fire stations. Residents can vote at either station.

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