Board of Directors
MINUTES OF REGULAR BOARD MEETING
February 15, 2023
Call to Order
Vice President Jim Hocker called the meeting to order with board members Bill Ellis, Jill Allington, Rachel Barkworth and Chief Mike Cousineau. Also present was Board Secretary Teresa Hoffman, Erle Collom, Leo Touzjian, Mike Abraham, Paul Rekow, Chris Rich, Jen Cook, Tony Ploughe, Gary Maguire, Bob & Colette McDonald.
Minutes from Previous Meeting
Jill Allington made a motion to approve minutes for January 2023, seconded by Rachel Barkworth, motion passed.
Submission of Bills
Rachel Barkworth made a motion to pay bills, seconded by Bill Ellis, motion passed.
⮚ The Treasurer’s Report was given by Rachel Barkworth.
⮚ Rachel Barkworth made a motion to move $5,179.81 from Contingency to Capital Firefighting to cover SCBA Grant 5% match, seconded by Jill Allington.
Fire Chief’s Report
8 Calls; Medical=3, Motor Vehicle Accident=2, Wildland Fire=1, Vehicle Fire=1, CO Alarm=1
o EMTS grant for Cardiac Monitor – application submitted.
o FFSDP grant for Extractor Washer – application due Feb 24.
o VFA grant for Bunker Gear – application due April 30.
o Three Rookies plus two new recruits.
o Luke Hlavin continuing Peer Support Team Training with Lyons Fire.
o Squads – Jesse Beightol and Abrahm Filoramo working on new truck checks.
Stations / Land
⮚ Station One – Main - 14861 Highway 7 – Osmun
o Public Announcement/Speaker System – parts delivered, to be installed.
⮚ Station Two – 2770 Riverside Drive – Heathermeade - Nothing new.
⮚ Station Three – 4 County Road 113 East - Meeker Park - Nothing new.
⮚ Station Four – 7400 Highway 7 – The Heights - Nothing new.
⮚ Station Five – 32 Bunce School Road – McCulloch - Nothing new.
⮚ Land at 23 Business Route 7
o Three out of six relatives are in favor of giving land to AFPD. Still awaiting word from three.
⮚ 5212 (Engine) replacement – working on details with Rosenbauer.
o Big Elk would like to buy old 5212.
o The chief looking into other potential buyers.
⮚ 5203 (Pumper/Tender) - Chassis delivered to SD.
⮚ 5234 (Brush Truck) – Will be ordering chassis soon (in budget) from Dodge due to lag time in delivery. Skid (firefighting add-on module) will be determined later.
Lefthand and Lyons Fire Departments considering merging. Lyons in favor, Lefthand is not.
⮚ No new requests.
⮚ New tables and chairs, thanks in part to Allenspark Area Club.
Election 2023 - Firefighters serving on the Board
▪ Per SDA, no employee can serve on the Board.
▪ AFPD FF survey attached.
⮚ Ann Terry, Executive Director of SDA and John Chmil, Attorney with Lyons Gaddis do not recommend having firefighters on the Board of Directors.
▪ Full comments in attached document.
⮚ Bill Ellis
▪ Does not see a conflict of interest.
▪ Decision needs to be in the By-Laws.
▪ WA allows Board members to be firefighters.
⮚ Jill Allington
▪ Future conflict could be avoided if we make a decision and change the By-Laws.
▪ Conflict leads to a loss of volunteers.
▪ It is important to listen to the advice of our lawyer.
⮚ Chris Rich
▪ Need to take Rachel out of the conversation, so that it is not personal.
▪ Be pro-active to avoid issues in the future.
⮚ Erle Collom
▪ Have been bringing this issue up for 25 years, as this is bad policy and is not about any current or past members of the Board.
⮚ Gary Maguire
▪ Election results show that residents are ok with firefighters on the Board.
▪ Was discussed in 2012 Board Meeting. (2012-07 Board Meeting Minutes attached)
⮚ Mike Abraham
▪ If firefighters take leave of absence, the supervisory role is eliminated.
⮚ Rachel Barkworth
▪ Believes she was elected because she is a firefighter.
▪ Chief needs to develop a way to solve conflicts between board members and firefighters.
Mill Levy Increase
⮚ Mike Daley will attempt to get copy of Estes Valley Fire mill levy survey from Fall 2022.
⮚ Mike Cousineau will compile list of fire fighting services.
AFPD Treasurer and Financial Officer proposal.
⮚ Potential offer, duties, thoughts from Jim Hocker.
Fire Fighter Comments
Board Member Comments
Jim Hocker thanked everyone that is running for the Board.
The Board Meeting was adjourned at 8:54 PM.
Board Secretary February 15, 2023
SURVEY OF AFPD VOLUNTEERS:
Do you believe that there could be a conflict of interest if a firefighter serves on the Board of Directors for a fire department?
If you know of any problems or issues with this department or another fire department relating to Firefighters serving on the Board of Directors, please comment below.
2/9/2023 19:48:33 Yes
There have been several minor issues.
It makes sense to be pro-active and make a policy before any major problems arise.
2/9/2023 20:01:20 Yes
2/9/2023 20:13:40 Yes
2/9/2023 20:15:55 Yes
looks good, thanks
2/11/2023 14:18:50 No Opinion
2/11/2023 14:19:03 No
2/11/2023 14:58:41 No
I believe the input and experience brought to the table by a firefighter is valuable and should not be excluded. I do not believe the entire board should be made up of firefighters, but I think allowing the participation of 1 or 2 could bring very valuable perspective to the board as a whole.
2/11/2023 15:17:24 Yes
It’s not that having a fire fighter on the board equates to graft or that their experience isn’t valuable. It’s that the chain of command may alter its decision-making with respect to that fire fighter. Fire departments are inherently paramilitary structures for a reason and the chain of command should not be subject to blow back from the board for tactical decisions or corrections it makes in the line of duty.
Similarly, the decisions of that board member could always be held under a cloud of suspicion for a lack of objectivity. Any conflict or collaboration between that fire-fighter and the chain of command will ultimately serve to undermine confidence in both the board and chain of command.
Lastly, a self-interested organization should not have taxing authority. Our military remains under civilian control for very similar reasons. It’s best to avoid even any appearance of an abuse of power.
2/11/2023 18:54:08 Yes
I have personally experienced problems on this department related to my duties and interference from firefighters who were also serving on the board. Numerous times I have had or witnessed those member(s) interfere with or obstruct activities ordered directly by the chief. Twice I have even been subjected to threats from those members for following orders given directly to me by the chief. On multiple times I have witnessed those members attempt to give orders to the chief as well. There have also been numerous instances of insubordination on incidents from those firefighters "flexing their fire board muscle" on the chief and fire officers. This has created a set of circumstances that has a cause of more than one resignation from the department of firefighters we invested a lot into.
I personally find it ridiculous that this is even a question to be asked. How is it even possible for a firefighter, who is supposed to be subordinate to the fire chief to also be on the board, and technically also his supervisor as well, without there being a conflict of interest? While this seems obvious to me, I am also afraid to speak up about it as I know I would face repercussions or reprisals for it. Please, we need the board to have our backs.
2/12/2023 10:47:38 Yes
None that I know
2/12/2023 20:30:46 Yes
I trust the individuals who are currently both firefighters and serving on the board, but there is opportunity for a conflict of interest that should be carefully considered. Admittedly its hard to find qualified people in Allenspark who are willing to put in the time for both roles so I see why it has been allowed so far. I don't know what the solution is.
2/15/2023 14:56:25 No Opinion
2/15/2023 14:56:37 No
2/15/2023 15:06:19 Yes
I belive there could be a conflict of interest but have never known it to be a problem. I see more benefits than negative with a firefighter on the board
2/15/2023 15:15:45 No
I think that there should be more community members than firefighters on the board. I think it is good to have firefighters input on the board.
2/15/2023 15:39:39 No
I've never heard of any issues.
I cannot even imagine any problems that this issue might cause.
2/15/2023 15:58:26 Yes
The Chief works for the board and the volunteers work under the direction of the chief, this creates a natural conflict of interest if the chief makes a decision that is disliked by the volunteer/board member putting pressure on the chief. The board's job is to look out for the tax payers and make financial decisions that are best for the community and the operation of the fire department and these decisions should be independent and not influenced by conflicts that arise due to this dual role. I believe it is bad policy to have volunteers on the board and my opinion is not based on any personalities currently on the roster.
Volunteer Firefighters Serving as Board Directors
Regulations, Statutes, Legal opinions, and Legal Precedence
State Statutes and SDA Manual
A director may not be an employee of the fire department
Chief shall not be a member of the board of directors
No director shall receive pay for their service, nor shall they receive any other compensation as an employee of the district
Incompatibility of Offices Doctrine
This is a legal doctrine that prohibits an individual from simultaneously holding two offices that are considered “incompatible” with one another. Offices are incompatible when, by their nature and duties, it is deemed improper from a public policy standpoint for one person to simultaneously serve in both
§ A legal doctrine is a framework, set of rules, procedural steps, or test, often established through precedent in the common law, through which judgments can be determined in a given legal case.
§ A doctrine comes about when a judge makes a ruling where a process is outlined and applied, and allows for it to be equally applied to like cases.
Lyons FPD and Lefthand FPD have both determined that this applies
Opinion and guidance from Ann Terry, Executive Director of Special District Association of Colorado, Doctor of Law:
“Firefighters should never be on the Board of Directors as this presents a direct conflict of interest. Even volunteer firefighters are technically employees of the district.”
Opinion and guidance from John Chmil, AFPD Attorney with Lyons Gaddis:
“There is a specific legal restriction in Title 32 that prohibits Directors from receiving compensation as an employee of the District, so that is clearly settled for part-time or full-time paid employees. Based on a strict reading of that statute, however, there is not a clear legal prohibition on volunteers also serving on the Board. As a result, while we do recommend that the practice be prohibited for volunteers as well, that is a policy determination for the Board that is usually reflected in either Board policy or the Board Bylaws.
If volunteers are permitted on the Board, the on-going conflicts of interest would have to be managed and we would recommend that the individual file a conflict disclosure with the Secretary of State’s office.
The common conclusion is typically to prohibit volunteers from simultaneously serving in order to avoid the potential conflicts of interest or other internal problems that could arise from the dual roles. Usually, the only time that we see Boards opting to allow it is when the District is predominantly volunteer and is having trouble finding individuals to serve on the Board.”
Policies of surrounding FPD’s
· Estes Park FPD
o Prohibited by current bylaws
· Lefthand FPD
o Prohibited bybylaws and Member Handbook, citing “Incompatibility of Offices Doctrine”
· Lyons FPD
o Prohibited by current bylaws, citing “Incompatibility of Offices Doctrine”
· Pinewood Springs FPD
o Nothing in current bylaws, but board directors must file a conflict of interest form each year with the Secretary of State.
o There are currently no firefighters serving on the board.
o According to their chief, the last time they had a firefighter on the board was about 20 years ago, and that his understanding is that it was “indeed awkward.”
APFD Treasurer and Financial Officer
Must be board member
No compensation allowed
Duties required by SDA regulations:
File $5,000 (minimum) bond
No other job description or duties listed
Additional duties required by current bylaws:
Chairperson of budget committee and audit committee
Keep or cause to be kept strict and accurate accounts of all money received by and disbursed for and on behalf of the district in permanent records.
Post $25,000 corporate fidelity bond
Financial Officer (proposed):
Receives a stipend
Under authority of board treasurer to “keep strict and accurate accounts of all money received by and disbursed for and on behalf of the district in permanent records.”
Attends board meetings and gives a monthly update to the board
Designated “budget preparer” as described in SDA regulations
Chairperson of budget committee (amend bylaws to include)
Other financial duties as required by the chief
Board Members Mike Daley, Jim Hocker, Jill Allington, Bill Ellis, Rachel Barkworth