Tri-Lakes Monument Fire extends chief search

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The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District's fire chief search continues as the deadline for submitting application packets was extended to Feb. 8

Interim Fire Chief Bryan Jack told the district board at its Jan. 23 meeting that, so far, he has received 24 application packets and 13 inquiries about the position. He said that, according to the district's human resources consultant from Mountain States Employers Council, 24 applicants weren't enough and that there were also not enough regional applicants, applicants from Colorado and nearby states.

Even with the application deadline extended, Jack told the board that the district could still have a new chief by the late April start date the board previously set.

The board also had a rare visit by a member of the district's legal counsel. Maureen Herr Juran of Widner Michow & Cox Attorneys at Law, said that night was only the third time legal counsel had attended a board meeting in 10 years. She asked that the board allow the firm's visits to be a bit less rare.

“You are hiring a new fire chief and you'll need a good employment contract,” she said. “To make sure you're protected contract review is essential.”

She also pointed out that the board members probably didn't consider the liabilities involved with using volunteers when the Rev. John Bauers of Three Cord Ministries volunteered to become the district's chaplain.

The board decided that legal counsel should attend future meetings on a quarterly basis.

Fire district staff has begun updating its policies and the employee handbook. Battalion Chief Greg Lovato said the new handbook should be ready in March, just in time for the new fire crew members who are graduating from the district's recruit academy on Feb. 2.

The district received federal funding to hire six new firefighters and has also hired two full-time paramedics, thanks to voters passing a mill levy increase in November. Lovato said the district had 86 applicants for the eight openings. Lovato thanked American Medical Response, U.S. Air Force Academy Fire Department, Black Forest Fire Protection District, the Larkspur and Donald Wescott fire departments and the town of Monument for their help with the recruit academy.

The next regular fire board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 27.

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