Fire board delays hiring chief

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The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District will have to go without a fire chief for a while longer. The fire board met Sept. 11 to discuss the criteria it will use when choosing a new chief to replace Rob Denboski, whose contract was terminated in mid-summer “for cause” after an independent investigation.

Acting board President Bill Ingram said after the Sept. 11 special meeting that the district can't afford to hire a new chief right now.

“If the mill levy increase is approved in November we should be able to hire a new chief,” he said. “Right now we're using the chief's salary to keep the district running. If the mill levy doesn't pass we'll have to lay off some higher level employees.”

The district recently applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant to fund the hiring of six entry-level firefighters for two years.

“We received word that our application had been denied,” Ingram said. “Then just last Friday (Sept. 7) we received a letter saying our application was being reconsidered and we were given a tentative approval number.”

He said it would be nice to be able to hire six new firefighters but if the grant came in before the election, the board would have to decline.

“It looks like we'll be approved for the grant but we're trying to delay making a decision to accept it until after the election,” he said. “We would get the grant funding on condition that we don't lay-off personnel for the two years of the grant. If the mill levy doesn't pass we will have to lay off some of our employees.”

If the mill levy passes, voters will not only be keeping district firefighters and ambulance service funded but they will also allow the district to get six more firefighters completely funded for two years, Ingram said.

After discussing the hiring of a new chief and the grant, boardmembers also looked at applications from six people who want to be appointed to replace former board President Charlie Pocock, who resigned last month for health reasons.

The six applicants are Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk, Colorado House District 19 Libertarian candidate Alan Bassett, Bill Mormile, Oscar Gillespie, Darryl Beckmann and Robert Ginnett. Shirk, Bassett, Mormile and Beckmann introduced themselves to the board at the special meeting. The board will decide on Pocock's replacement at its next regular meeting Sept. 26.

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