Occupation: part-time consultant
Why are you running for office and why are you the best candidate for the position?
I have the passion, energy and time to serve in this volunteer position now that I work part-time. “Best” is in the eye of the beholder: I have strong leadership skills and have served our country both in uniform and in defense management/executive civilian positions. Check out my web site for more: www.joewienandforelkcreek.org.
What are the three biggest challenges facing the Elk Creek Fire District?
These are not necessarily in priority order: 1) wildfire mitigation/control, 2) merger with other districts, 3) keeping our great highly trained volunteers and paid staff from leaving to other higher-paying positions, to include infrastructure improvements for the front-line personnel.
How do you propose tackling those challenges?
1) Ensure the mil levy that expires in 2023 is reintroduced and passed, find more funding from new sources (such as U.S. Forest Service and other federal/state entities) for Elk Creek FPD and more tax breaks for residents who mitigate; 2) evaluate pros and cons of mergers, so citizens understand opportunities and challenges; 3) find ways to increase firefighter and emergency medical personnel pay and create livable infrastructure spaces for volunteers that want to stay close to firehouse during wildfire season.
What experience or expertise would you bring to the Elk Creek board?
Thirty-six years of leadership experience as a manager and executive in high hazard operations. I understand how to keep people safe in dangerous situations. People I led handled some of the most dangerous compounds known to mankind. I was successful because I knew how to tackle the bureaucracy for my people, and I’ll do the same for Elk Creek FPD. I also dealt with the public for a number of years to explain highly dangerous operations. Again, check out my web site: www.joewienandforelkcreek.org.
What would you do to promote openness and transparency in government?
Spend time with Chief Ware, the firefighters and emergency medical personnel to understand the challenges they face “on-the-ground” and provide reports to the other board members and public at regular monthly meetings. Citizens will know what I’m seeing and can make their own judgments on whether I’m making the right decisions for them.
How can Elk Creek better educate residents about fire mitigation?
Continue the Ambassador Program; it’s great. Engage with other public and service organizations to attend area events that attract the public. Elk Creek FPD does a pretty good job of this now. To get better, we need to evaluate how other fire districts meet with and interact with the public to obtain “best practices.” Leverage existing partnerships as much as possible.
Inter-Canyon, Elk Creek, Indian Hills and North Fork fire departments are discussing consolidation. What is the biggest asset to such a merger, and what is the biggest barrier?
I think the merger is still a work in progress. The feasibility study identified that about one-third of those involved are “in favor of consolidation if it improved services,” while another third were “generally in favor” and another third were either opposed or neutral. I think the options need to be further examined in detail and presented to the public before decisions are made.
Do you feel that consolidation is a wise decision for Elk Creek?
I need to gather more information from the Elk Creek FPD and others to fully understand the merger’s detailed opportunities and challenges.
Two large residential developments are being proposed in the Elk Creek Fire District. What is the department’s responsibility to ensuring it can provide emergency services to all of its constituents? Make sure the department can serve developments sustainably over the years.
How can Elk Creek improve communication with constituents?
Hit all the normal venues in the area, as they already do (Conifer Area Council, Rotary, etc.) Also, expand more into different social-media venues and update the webpage more frequently. To find out there was an election on May 3, you had to search the existing website.
Is there anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
They can call or email me if they want to know more, and a lot of that information is in my website: www.joewienandforelkcreek.org.