Jefferson County Fire District Board members approach merger plan with caution
Three newly elected members were sworn in to serve on the Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services Board on Monday, July 12 and quickly set to work on a plan to eliminate their positions.
Mike Ahern, Janet Brown and Joe Krenowicz campaigned for the board of directors with a program to merge the county ambulance service with the county fire department.
Historically, the EMS board has resisted the merger, but Ahern, Brown and Krenowicz now hold the majority, with board member Dave Budden strongly opposed to consolidation, “I will always try to prevent this from happening. happen, ”and fifth board member Steve Heydon saying he thinks JCEMS should remain a“ self-sufficient special district ”. Heydon did not attend Monday night’s meeting.
The board elected Ahern to serve as chairman and retain Heydon as vice chairman, then passed a resolution to establish a consolidation task force to plan the merger.
“We’ll hire a facilitator,” Ahern says, “to start the meetings and keep them organized and move in the same direction.”
The resolution also calls for the hiring of a merger consultant to work out details such as compensation, benefits and job description, essentially to draft the details of the merger.
On Tuesday, July 13, board members Brown and Ahern presented an identical resolution to the Jefferson County No.1 Fire District Board of Directors.
“I’ll describe their reaction in one word,” Ahern said. “Careful.”
“This is definitely something I want to look at to see how best to serve customers in our community,” said Chris Dupont, board member, who does not view the merger as a done deal. “I haven’t seen anything that prompts me to go one way or the other.”
Dupont supports the constitution of a team to propose a merger proposal.
Both councils will have lawyers to review the document and vote on passing the resolution at their August meetings.
According to the resolution, the two councils would appoint a total of up to 13 members: two members from each council, a director or representative from Jefferson County, the mayor or representative of the town of Culver, a member of the council of Lake Billy Chinook Fire District or member of the board of directors of the Three Rivers Homeowners Association, and six members of the general public from the fire district or ambulance service area.
The group would meet at least once a month and report monthly to each district.
Ahern believes the process of merging the two services will take around 18 months.
You depend on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Good local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.