My open letter to LMRFD regarding the ongoing disarray

It’s been TWO years since the new LMRFD (Meadview and Dolan Springs) fire district board took office.

The good news is that LMRFD is not insolvent again.

The bad news is the lack of transparency, constant state of confusion and strange things going on with the administrative assistant Karen and her complete and utter incompetence.  She is not even capable of getting a subscription button on the LMRFD blog and posting important announcements such as next meeting time and place, CHANGES to meeting times, availability of agenda, minutes, documents.  She can’t even get the minutes right.

I do not understand why the residents in the fire district PAY someone THAT incompetent!   The chief can’t even produce a SIMPLE report with all calls and some info about the nature of the calls so I can PAY for reports that resulted in transports, refusals or DOAs.  I’ve been asking for well over half a year.

I can’t imagine what the administrative assistant gets paid for — it reeks of corruption or nepotism — something is very WRONG!

Just about every board meeting starts with the board CORRECTING the minutes, sometimes delaying minute approval for MONTHS because the corrections were not made.

Meadview has one guy AT BEST at the fire station. 

He cannot transport patients by himself.

Nobody knows what they’ll be charged for ambulance transports when the insurance pays less than the full amount and many people refuse transports or don’t call 911. Not to mention that you might be dead by the time the ambulance gets to Meadview.

So here’s my letter to Chief DeMaio:

Dear Chief DeMaio,

I can’t believe those minutes again …

The audio of the last board meeting needs to be uploaded to LMRFD.org.

Since I missed recording part of the last meeting, please upload the audio to LMRFD.org so we can listen to what was actually said.   Apparently board member Charlotte Kiffer was told that the audio file was too large to email  and that she could listen to it at the Dolan Springs station.

I am neither retired nor wealthy and driving 60 miles to sit at your Dolan station to listen to the recording really does not work for me.

Please send the link to the audio by email, thank you!

The public has no access to the financial documents such as budgets discussed at the board meetings and the LMRFD website is dysfunctional and essentially abandoned.

The residents don’t know what to expect when they call 911 and whether they’ll get a bill for the amount not covered by insurance.

Frank, the owner of the Dolan Springs hardware store, walked out of the recent LMRFD budget meeting because it was a waste of time to attend without the budget documents.

So I am asking you to put the following items on the agenda for the next board meeting:

a) LMRFD will video record future meetings and promptly upload the video and post it at LMRFD.org so residents can see what really happens at LMRFD.

During the 2016 initial board members’ campaign board member Debbie Cass told me that she is very knowledgeable with computers and she stated that she was in favor of LMRFD recording the video of board meetings and posting the video online.

However, not only have I had to waste MY time and money TRYING to record the meetings, but often I was not notified of meeting time changes.

b)  All information related to board meetings will be posted at LMRFD.org and a subscription button will be added to the LMRFD.org WordPress blog.

  • The next meeting date is posted within 48 hours after every board meeting.
  • The agenda is posted once available, at minimum 48 hours prior to the meeting.
  • All documents to be discussed at the board meeting will be posted at minimum 48 hours prior to the meeting.
  • All documents related to every meeting will be posted at LMRFD.org in a properly named folder or section such as “2/24/18 board meeting”
  • The documents will be in PDF format with descriptive file names, such as 2018-2-24–LMRFD-agenda.pdf.
  • Obviously, subscribers must be able to receive notice of each new posting, hence the subscription button.

c) Discussion of the contract with the company / person who installed this sorry excuse of the LMRFD blog that has been essentially abandoned.

  • A copy of the contract will be provided to the public.

I heard that LMRFD paid $1,000 for the LMRFD WordPress blog installation.  I did not know that LMRFD was getting bids for the website as I would have been able to install a functional WordPress website WITH a subscription button, STRUCTURE to allow for easy uploads and organization of documents, a MANUAL for posting and updating, 5 hours employee training and 3 months tech support and minor changes/updates for $500.

If it is true that $1,000 were paid, updates and functionality as outlined above must be added by that company/person free of charge along with a manual and employee training.

d) LMRFD will prepare and distribute its billing policy and response times to residents so they will know what to expect when they call 911.

Many residents don’t call 911 or refuse transport because they are afraid of the bills. In fact, you may recall the testimony about the 80+ year old man who refused transport to KRMC at the Meadview Family Dollar after he fell because he could not afford the $300 cab ride back home from the hospital.

I heard that Meadview residents died after it took over an hour for the paramedics to get to a patient, in one case after a patient suffered a stroke (when every second counts.)
I noticed a number of DOAs in your reports and wonder what actually happened.  Recently you reported 3 DOAs.

What is going on?

Are people waiting too long to call?

Does it take too long for the EMTs to get there?

Would they likely have lived if medical help arrived sooner?

There is no way of telling how many people died because they were afraid of the costs for an ambulance run to the hospital.

In summary:

The lack of transparency and the lack of factual information available to the residents who pay your salary is NOT acceptable. If these issues are not resolved to my satisfaction, I will be filing a formal complaint.

I am also going to contact state legislators as LMRFD is not the only fire district in constant trouble and incapable of properly serving the people who pay for services they expect and deserve, but don’t get.

Having ONE guy at the Meadview fire station and not even all the time is totally unacceptable. My concern is NOT fire suppression, but medical services. It’s about saving lives.

When was the last time LMRFD saved a life in Meadview due to its fire suppression services?

How many fire calls from Meadview did LMRFD get over the last 10 years?

These are NOT rhetorical questions, I’d really like to know.

LMRFD has NO plan to improve medical services in Meadview!

It’s been two years since the new board took over and you became chief.  I’m out of patience.

I will oppose any attempt to force me into this sorry excuse of a fire district.

I did not campaign against the proposed fire district tax increase last year because I am not in the district.  I WILL campaign against any attempt to force me into this mismanaged district that does absolutely nothing for Meadview.

Meadview would be much better off after separation from LMRFD, which would still provide ambulance service just as it does for White Hills and 93 (these areas are NOT in the LMRFD fire district and property owners in those areas are not paying a dime to LMRFD.)

Even the current Meadview revenue (with few properties in the district) would pay for a full-time nurse.  With all Meadview properties contributing, we could have 24/7 MEDICAL coverage.   This is one reason why I will be contacting legislators as currently medical services essentially don’t exist and we need traveling nurses to make home visits to our mostly elderly population.

Laws will have to be changed, as we need medical, not fire districts.

I’m all for working WITH LMRFD and sharing resources and knowledge, but Meadview being part of LMRFD is not working for us up here and your contempt for my many requests for reports and documents is inexplicable and inexcusable.

Until Meadview separated from LMRFD I will do whatever I can to improve the quality of healthcare for the Meadview residents and that starts with you finally firing Karen and hiring someone more competent.

I’ll greatly appreciate your cooperation,

Christine Baker
Posted at [this URL]

Well, that got a lot longer than planned and it is not a comprehensive analysis of LMRFD problems, but it’s a start.

It’s also election time and couldn’t be better timing to get feedback from incumbents and candidates in the Arizona state legislature.

Hopefully soon I’ll be updating with feedback from our legislators and candidates, who by the way, should have a solid record of giving a damn about the people out here.

27 Responses to My open letter to LMRFD regarding the ongoing disarray

  1. Congrads on the new and disturbing news about the district. I for one feel the need to bring paid on call drivers in the Meadview area. These individual could drive the ambulance to Kingman and or Stockman Hill where it could meet the Dolan Springs crew.

    As I previously stated I live in a totally volunteer fire / EMS area of New York during the summer and have no fear of getting to a hospital in a timely fashion.

    The commission overseeing the department has and will remove any chief (3) unit officer for not doing his or her job. The commission also operates under the open door policy and is lmited to one executive session every 4 months. Yes we pay a higher tax bill for the services but it’s worth it.

    The residences of the area need a closed door meeting with Bishop and the county supervisors of the other districts in N. Mohave County, It’s time and needed for a paid and paid on call county fire department that service ALL of Mohave County.

    The current board if afraid to take action against the chief and the former volunteer wannabe wbo is at every meeting and appears to support tbe current cheif either good or bad.

    I can’t wait to get back there to ask the board and chief some serious questions concerning the welfare of the residents that live and work in north east Mohave County.

    Keep up the good work and put pressure on Bishop to help protect us.

    • After the LMRFD went insolvent in January 2013 and the County Board of Supervisors hired John Flynn as Administrator to bring the District back to solvency, he and Chief Patrick Moore lobbied at the State and County level for a County fire district. They succeeded at the State level. They were shut down at the County level, as Mr. Flynn stated during a monthly meeting in Meadview, “THE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS JUST DOESN’T HAVE AN APPETITE FOR A COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT AT THIS TIME”. Maybe it’s time they got an “appetite” for it. The injustice heaped upon a few taxpayers in the LMRFD supporting fire and EMS services for the entire NW corner of AZ (heavily used by County and State tourist and commercial traffic), making those services largely unavailable to those paying for them, needs to be rectified. The effort must begin at the County level with our elected representatives. There are things that can be done to correct the situation, but we need people who care who will make the effort.

      • I don’t want a county-wide district either.

        Bigger is NOT better.

        I want our district to be SMALL and LOCAL.

        I want local VOLUNTEERS.

        I want the EMTs to LIVE here and to KNOW the roads.

        I want “LOCAL” control and do NOT want the County deciding who lives and who dies.

        Just look at the roads!!!

        What makes you think this County would be capable of running a fire district when they can’t even fix the dirt roads?

        A really good example is the health screening the County will be doing in Dolan. Apparently as part of it, the kids will be vaccinated.

        So we’ll possibly better a few lives with heath screening only to create more disabilities for kids with those damned vaccinations. The one thing we really need are measles parties and getting the kids’ immune systems back in shape.

        The County should provide additional funding form the PILT funds the feds pay for EXACTLY that purpose.

        I want SMALLER government and LOCAL control,not BIGGER government.

        That’s not to say that the Meadview people haven’t already proven their stupidity by forcing our district into consolidating with LMRFD, but I’d still rather deal with local idiots that with the BOS.

        • I agree with you Christine, that bigger government is not better and I would not normally support it. However, in our case where a handful of taxpayers are carrying the burden of providing fire and EMS service to County and State tourist and commercial traffic for all of NW AZ, there needs to be some way to spread the cost of those services more equitably. PILT funds, even if County could be convinced to divvy it up, would only be a drop in the bucket of needed funding. Better to get rid of the FD altogether, then, and scrape up some volunteers.

          • Even a volunteer district requires funds, vehicles and uniforms don’t grow on trees.

            Consider this:

            If Meadview had NOT consolidated with Dolan and had just done NOTHING since the consolidation, how much money would Meadview have for a spiffy new firetruck and ambulance?

            And much more!

            ” PILT funds, even if County could be convinced to divvy it up, would only be a drop in the bucket of needed funding.””

            Can I get those numbers?

            • “However, in our case where a handful of taxpayers are carrying the burden of providing fire and EMS service to County and State tourist and commercial traffic for all of NW AZ, there needs to be some way to spread the cost of those services more equitably.”

              For one, I’ve repeatedly heard that the ambulance revenue subsidizes LMRFD, so I wouldn’t call that a “burden.”

              And again, where are the numbers?

              How many fire truck runs on 93 in the last two years, what exactly IS that burden?

              • You got that backwards. The taxpayers in the LMRFD have always subsidized the ambulance service. The ambulance service has NEVER covered its costs of operation. There are some glaring errors and omissions in the recent ARCR filed with the State that make it appear that it is near breaking even, but in reality, when all of the costs are calculated, the taxpayers cough up hundreds of thousands of $$ a year to keep the ambulance service on the road… much of it to tourists on Hwy 93 who never pay their bill. Like the Sheriff said about collecting on traffic tickets…try to collect from someone in China. You need only compare the proposed budget for 18/19 on the LMRFD website to previous budgets to see that ambulance revenue has been declining every year while tax revenue has been slightly increasing. When something breaks in the LMRFD, they don’t say, “Oh, let’s make collections more efficient, or “Let’s see how we might reduce the costs of operation on the ambulance service!” It is, “Let’s con the taxpayers into voting for a tax levy “. It is much easier to just gouge the sitting duck taxpayers than think outside the box or do something creative.

            • Based on the property values reported by the County which I sent you previously, with the tax rate set at the max 3.25%, and a 89% collection rate, without consolidation with LMRFD Meadview would have $115,283 to operate on in FY 2018. The cost of one Firefighter/Paramedic position, (That is 3 guys to cover 3 shifts 24×7) which I have also sent you previously, is currently around $196,000/year. It is apparent that there would be NO money for anything…not even one full time person in the station.

              We received a report from the County several years ago as to how much the PILT funds are and where they go. It was explained that if those funds were split up among all the Fire Districts in the County, there would not be sufficient $$ to help any of them. I don’t recall the numbers, but you can get that info from the County.

              • Ellen, is there any way to get that report from the County re PILT?

                And I’m VERY confident that we could hire a compassionate competent nurse to work 40 hour weeks for $60k/year.

                So two nurses are about $120k/year. You’d have regular office hours like Mary did about 8 or so years ago and as far as I’m concerned, she’s the world’s best nurse EVER — she CARED.

                She couldn’t make it here because she didn’t get one dime from the fire district and her husband worked full time for free just to deal with the insurance crap.

                So all you really need to do is SUBSIDIZE and if we had two people like Mary, we’d be set.

                They’d back each other up, they’d be on call during non business hours and they’d have time to make some house calls.

                Mary did some of that free of charge, just to make sure her patients were well cared for, unannounced home visits.

                And that’s all we need — for emergency transports it’s the LMRFD ambulance (we’ll be glad to support LMRFD) or the helicopter.

                Have to look at what’s NEEDED, not at what LMRFD is doing now.

                • So, you’re saying eliminate the guy from Station 43 altogether and support nurses instead? Sounds like a plan! Why don’t you pursue that idea with some hard data and present it to the Fire Board?

    • The NACFD trained Emergency Medical Responders ($250) in fact the LMRFD even sent one volunteer to the class. The Arizona Revised Codes say Emergency Medical Responders can assist EMT’s and paramedics and DRIVE the AMBULANCE I explained this in my blog as well as asking why we can’t reduce the ambulance area.

      PLEASE read my blog posts A Perfect World We Would Have EMR and WE have been told over and over that “the LMRFD Certificate of Necessity Can NOT be Changed So WHO CHANGED IT?

      The LMRFD does’t look for full time firefighters. They operate under the Good O’l Boy system where the chief hires his buddies from other fire districts to work part time leaving us with nothing in a major disaster.

      My Blog Please read https://dolanemsproblems.blogspot.com

      • Jay, you need to get away from your blog and take some real action. If there’s a problem, address it via a public complaint or public letter to the chief or the board or whatever.

        You keep making many allegations that are completely unsubstantiated. I know you already filed a complaint, so you know how to do it 🙂

        A blog is a blog is a blog … great for getting some input, but nothing will ever change based on unsubstantiated allegations.

        I’ll have to watch Code Black sometime.

        “… If people in White Hills want fire and ambulance service join the fire district and pay their fair share or start their own fire district and ambulance. …

        Why should people have to pay for AMBULANCE service????

        It’s a profitable venture and actually supports LMRFD. So maybe LMRFD should write White Hills a check occasionally?

          • As the nearest Fire District the LMRFD is obligated to respond, if available. However, they generally do NOT get paid for it. The chief’s statement at the last Board meeting that “insurance pays”, is BS. Fire insurance pays to the homeowner for their loss; it DOES NOT pay anything to the Fire District for their service. That is supposed to get billed to the property owner, which is a total waste of time without using some teeth, like the small claims process, as RARELY does anyone voluntarily pay the bill. We used to have many accounts with people paying $10-$20 – $100/month on fire as well as ambulance bills. Generally all it takes is receiving the summons from small claims to get someone on the ball and paying their bill. Now, the taxpayers get to pick up the tab.

        • Seriously?? Are you kidding?

          “Why should people have to pay for AMBULANCE service????

          It’s a profitable venture and actually supports LMRFD. So maybe LMRFD should write White Hills a check occasionally?”

          This is embarrassing, and I should just ignore the statement, but being a stickler for details and accuracy, I must comment. As I explained in a previous post, the LMRFD ambulance service is NOT profitable. The property owners in Dolan Springs and 1/3 of Meadview property owners subsidize the ambulance service with their hard earned tax dollars. That is why people need to pay for ambulance service.

          • What I meant was the people in the fire district shouldn’t have to pay for ambulance service. It’s called a “fire” district for a reason and needs to be self supporting.

            We’re running out of space here! So I finally started posting at the new forum:

            https://forum.highdesertdirt.com/mohave/lmrfd-discussion-ideas/

            I just opened 2 new tech support tickets, still need to make fonts larger and there are some other issues to fix, but these comments here don’t cut it.

            So I want to discuss ONE issue in each topic at the forum, we can post supporting DOCUMENTS and maybe figure out what’s REALLY going on — based on facts and not beliefs.

            You do have to sign up to post at the forum and please let me know if you have any trouble!

  2. I for one would like to see a secret / anonymous ballot on lack of competence of the chief of the department. Those voting would include the board members and members of the department.

    I feel it has to be secret / anonymous because the current board does not have the back bone to call the chief out on his performance publicity

    • You can’t expect the part time firefighters hired under the Good O’l Boy system making around $700 per shift to vote against their buddy… Not ONE full time firefighter lives in the LMRFD…

      • Names? Details? Jay, just the facts, please 🙂

        If there’s something wrong with the hiring, you need to state WHO was hired improperly.

        Their names, where they work full-time and document the chief’s efforts or lack thereof to hire locals and full-time staff.

        Prepare a listing of employees and show us what’s wrong.

        Read my letter again. I don’t just complain about the horrible website, I’m stating EXACTLY what is wrong and what they need to do, even how to name the files.

        I mentioned “Karen”, couldn’t think of her last name, but I’m sure there’s only one. I don’t just gripe about hiring practices, I say what it is. And you need to do the same.

        Sometimes I take info from other people to work into my letters or complaints, but I’ll be repeating your totally unsubstantiated allegations when hell freezes over.

  3. Jay, as I’ve been reading more of your blog posts, regarding the fire truck on 93, have you ever asked the chief?

    Since it is a STATE route, have you asked your representatives in the state legislature? And let’s not forget Jean Bishop!

    The candidates that are currently campaigning?

    Why don’t you make THEM work?

  4. Christine I’ve filed complaints, truth is nobody cares about the LMRFD. The complaint to the EMS bureau was a cover-up… In Washington State when you filed a complaint something gets done. In Arizona they seem to push it aside like the investigation into the DSCC, or covered up like the EMS complaint. When people don’t have a problem with a dead lady signing a nonprofits checks for a year.. I really don’t know it takes to get someone to do something.

    Like I’ve said my blog is just to educate people about the problems…

  5. As far as hiring the “chief” can hire who he wants. The chief decides who he wants for firefighters and volunteers.. The board hires the chief, the chief runs the department.. If the board hires and supports a chief who doesn’t want volunteers, who doesn’t want to hire full time firefighters all the complaints in the world won’t help.

    The board needs to do the research to figure out what changed when we lost all the volunteers? STOP lying to us that volunteer firefighters cost too much for training and insurance. MOST the Majority of firefighters in America are and have been volunteers for 200 years.

    Hire a chief who supports volunteers. Allow people from outside the fire district to volunteer. When we hired Tony I was very supportive. He was a paramedic who could teach EMT classes. Wrongly I assumed he would teach a EMT class for people in the ambulance CON for better coverage and response times.

    The bottom line is complaining to the people who want things the way they are is pointless. Nobody cares until they dial 911, then they think about EMS. Whoever shows up is the hero, doesn’t matter if it’s a paramedic in a $200,000 ambulance, or a hillbilly in a pickup truck. It’s who helps save your live in an emergency.

    • On the LMRFD website, there is a tab titled “Employment”. Listed there are the requirements for paid as well as volunteer personnel. There is a link you can click on (and it actually works) to get to the Employment Application. It is not downloadable or printable from the site, but you can, page by page, for 7 pages, “save image as” to your computer and there manipulate it however is necessary to fill it out and print it. Then, you will need to take the application to the station, as the link provided, to Karen’s (the Administrative Assistant) email is non functional. Or, you can go directly to the station and pick up an application, fill it out and leave it there. That is, if you can ever catch the place with the doors open. Call first, maybe someone will answer the phone. But, it’s a moot point, because for years when we had a functional online application, with posted requests for volunteers, with functional contact information, and the doors to the station open with somebody there during business hours, no qualified volunteers appeared. BTW, it costs considerably more to employ a full time person with full benefits than it does to fill the same position with a part time person. Since applicants for full time aren’t lining up at the door, again, moot point.

  6. The wording in the current LMRFD application that states “alcohol is included within the meaning and prohibition of drugs” prohibits the use, sale, transfer, or being under the influence of alcohol as well as illicit drugs on or off duty and may cause prospective employees and volunteers who use alcohol responsibility to not apply.

    Current Drug and Alcohol Testing portion of the LMRFD application
    Drug and Alcohol Testing: In order to assure a drug-free work environment, the District prohibits the use, sale, transfer, being under the influence and/or reporting to work after using or ingesting illicit drugs in accordance with department policies. Under District policy, alcohol is included within the meaning and prohibition of drugs. Successful passage of drug testing will be condition for employment and continued employment.

    I’ve been told the section that says “alcohol is included within the meaning and prohibition of drugs” Doesn’t mean employees can’t drink off duty.

    What does it mean to you? To me when it says alcohol is included within the meaning and prohibition of drugs, it means you can’t use alcohol, period….

    Until volunteers are made up of a cross section of OUR community and the changing times, why should anyone volunteer?

    • Jay, please repost at the forum. This is an important issue and deserves its own topic.

      And for some reason I have to approve all comments manually, it’s not just you or deliberate, sorry!

      https://forum.highdesertdirt.com/mohave/lmrfd-discussion-ideas/

      I want to discuss ONE issue in each topic at the forum, we can post supporting DOCUMENTS and maybe we can figure out what’s REALLY going on — based on facts and not beliefs.

      You do have to sign up to post at the forum and please let me know if you have any trouble!

  7. “Then, you will need to take the application to the station, as the link provided, to Karen’s (the Administrative Assistant) email is non functional.” — why am I even surprised!

    Jay, please copy / paste your comments to the new LMRFD forum at

    https://forum.highdesertdirt.com/mohave/lmrfd-discussion-ideas/

    This blog is not suitable for intense discussions like these and I’m getting everything more organized at the forum.

    You have to register, please let me know if you have any problems!

    All intelligent life is invited to contribute, Randy of course too!

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