7/23/18 LMRFD board meeting notes by Ellen Reh-Bower

7/26/18 — by Ellen Reh-Bower

Thought I would just hit the high spots from the LMRFD Board meeting Monday, July 23, for those interested. The agenda promised an interesting meeting. A few tidbits came through.

Approval of minutes from prior meetings, 4/30/18 – 6/25/18 was finally accomplished after months of Board members requesting corrections.

The financials were reported over an unintelligible cell phone connection with the accountant, and no hard copies were available, so unable to report on those numbers as presented at the meeting. However, some numbers were heard as Board members asked specific questions. Note: The Profit & Loss with Budget Performance is finally posted at the LMRFD website. http://lmrfd.org/profit-loss-statements/ You have to screen shot the page in order to save and print, but hey…at least it is accessible! Remember to print your own before you attend a monthly meeting so you can follow along.

We learned from a question posed by Director Charlotte Kiffer that the LMRFD has a $534,000 carry over into the new Fiscal Year beginning July 1 this year.

A question posed by Eric Terrill clarified that “Not Ordinary Income” was over budget by $81,400 because of “additional tax revenue”. That’s great! Maybe we can buy the chief a more economical chief’s vehicle so our brush truck can stay in District and live a little longer.

Another question by Eric as to the $13,000 credit card bill, wondering why payments to Copperpoint, Cascade Fire, and an AFG Grant were done by credit card instead of by check? Chief Tony DeMaio explained that these items were pressed for time. Director Terrill asked if Chief DeMaio had contacted the Chairman of the Board before making those credit card payments. Mr. DeMaio answered, “No”. Director Terrill pointed out that the chief had violated the terms of his contract by avoiding the 2 signatures required for purchases in excess of $5000. Ouch!

The Chief’s report was read quickly and I didn’t get all the numbers. I did hear 53 EMS, 40 Transport, 5 Refusals, 5 Unbilled, 2 Flown, 1 DOA, 1 Cancel. There were 3 fire calls, the breakdown was unintelligible. The chief reported 29 of 31 days covered in Meadview for July. Meetings he attended were Run Review, Pre-Hospital care, WACEMS, and Wildland training. He reported an automatic rate increase in ambulance rates, resulting in ALS/BLS $1845.11; Mileage $15.01, and Standby $461.28. He reported that the County has not yet lifted the burn ban; the LMRFD website will be undergoing an update to a more user friendly platform; He is seeking bids to repair the roof on Station 41, and is going to Bullhead and Las Vegas for 2nd and 3rd bids as requested by the Board. Good work chief!

Theodora Koeppen was “denounced” as being unqualified for the empty Fire Board seat she volunteered for at the June meeting. It appears that her annexation request into the LMRFD has not yet cleared the hurdles required, which can take from 3-6 months. Chairperson Cass, when Director Kiffer asked if she had inquired as to Ms. Koeppen’s status as of that morning, answered, “No. I’m going with the estimate of 6 months.”

The agenda item indicating that the Board would “interview possible interested candidates and vote for Interim/Temporary LMRFD Board Member” saw Ellen Reh-Bower present the Board with her statement of qualifications and intent. She was denied an interview. Another prospective candidate present at the meeting was also denied an interview, as Cass stated something to the effect that she had “someone else in mind”. The insertion of an August date in the agenda item was highly irregular, confusing and out of line to begin with. You don’t post an item for “discussion and possible action” for some future meeting. That is incomprehensible when at the previous meeting 2 people expressed interest. Consequently 2 candidates, qualified, ready, able and willing at the July meeting could not be considered. Another month.

Supervisor Jean Bishop spoke to the annexation process for bringing the 2/3 of properties in Meadview into the Fire District. Discussion ensued regarding efforts already made following the guidelines she presented. When Supervisor Bishop understood that the efforts failed at the point where the County requires a legal description of the proposed outside boundaries and that it is a herculean task beyond any individual or the LMRFD to perform, but which the County has the data and tools to do so, she offered her assistance in obtaining it. Thank you Jean! As for any improvements at the Hwy 93/ PF Rd. junction, she pointed citizens to the AZ Dept. of Transportation meetings. The next one is in September in Florence. October’s is in Lake Havasu City. She suggested a group representing the community and speaking to the issue would carry more weight than her input would. In the meantime, band aids is what we get until the 5 year plan is implemented.

Director Kiffer referred to A.R.S. 48-803, allowing for Fire Board members to be reimbursed for expenses related to their service. She was asking specifically for reimbursement of fuel costs for Board members travelling between Dolan Springs and Meadview for meetings. Her request is being referred to the attorney.

Director Kiffer referred to LMRFD Board Bylaws Rule 6, saying that after discussion and votes are taken, they are to be “ayes” and “nays” only. She noted that it is out of order to include explanations as to why one is voting the way they do. All agreed.

Director Terrill proposed the Board direct the chief to get quotes for an alarm/surveillance system for LMRFD properties, due to recent thefts. All agreed.

At the Call to the Public, the following people spoke:
Ellen Reh-Bower asked that the Board appoint the Clerk of the Board to be responsible for taking and posting the meeting minutes within the legally required time frame, as waiting for 2-3 weeks is not acceptable. She pointed out that it is the Board’s responsibility to have the minutes posted in time. She stated it is common practice among other Fire Districts in the State for the Clerks to take the minutes. Listed were, Golder Fire District in Tucson, Green Valley Fire District, Sedona Fire District and Sun City Fire District.

Pat Kelley-Staab told of many properties being removed from the LMRFD in 2001 and 2002 because they were improperly annexed in. She said somebody needs to look at the minutes from that period to determine what happened so it isn’t repeated. Discussion ensued as to where those minutes might be located.

Walt Kiffer reported that he had input the run information provided in the chief’s report, into Excel, and came up with 17% of runs being on Hwy 93 for the month of June. (Chief is hand counting those, as the LMRFD reporting system remains dysfunctional)

Walt Kiffer stated that he doesn’t understand, if accounts are reconciled monthly, how an un-cleared check to Copperpoint in April went un-detected for such a long period of time as to threaten cancellation of the worker’s comp insurance. Walt brings up a very worrisome point here.

Executive Session lasted from 2:35 to 4:17. A couple of us stuck around, curious as to what the “payroll matter” is that was approved to be sent to the County Attorney’s office for investigation at the June meeting. It is not common practice to send a “payroll matter” to the County Attorney for investigation. Curious…

Executive Business resumed with “continued legal action”. Only actions taken were: Eric Terrill motioned to combine items C and D, “personnel matter, payroll, DeMaio and DeMaio performance” and to put a written letter of reprimand in the chief’s file, for “standards not being met”.

Charlotte Kiffer requested agenda items for August meeting as follows: To make the monthly P&L and agenda available for attendees. Next meeting, August 27, 1:30, in Meadview at the Meadview Community Association building.

Submitted July 26, 2018, Ellen Reh-Bower


Thanks Ellen!

GREAT notes, but one correction, the MCA is the Meadview CIVIC Association and the main reason why Meadview has no community.  I don’t know what’s worse, the noise at the Dolan Chamber or the echo at the Meadview MCA.

While I was at the fire board meeting, I missed much of what was said due to the noisy cooler.  And my mind tends to wander when I contemplate why Director Cass dislikes Ellen so much she refused to conduct the interviews for the vacant board seat, why nobody is UPSET that the County takes 6 months to add a property into the fire district, how they could not notice that the insurance check didn’t clear, why they allow the chief to continue to mess with the website without any info on what they’ll do, why they paid $12k to paint the Dolan station and why it’s not white with red trim (as it used to be), … (the list is a mile long!)

The countless executive sessions …   I just hope I’ll never be forced into this dysfunctional fire district.

The official draft minutes are already at the LMRFD site, but I’m hoping to get a pdf instead of “pictures” and will then post them at the LMRFD forum.

Here is the video of the 7/23/18 meeting:
https://forum.highdesertdirt.com/mohave/2018-july/2018-7-23-video/

6 Responses to 7/23/18 LMRFD board meeting notes by Ellen Reh-Bower

  1. Christine, I would like to bounce some ideas off you about the fire district. I think I might have the solution to the problems. We have emailed at times but needs more. I’m the snow bird from NY that has attended some of the meeting in Meadview. I’m current NY and returning in Sept.

    Call when you get a chance 516-270-5326

    Randy

  2. “Director Kiffer referred to A.R.S. 48-803, allowing for Fire Board members to be reimbursed for expenses related to their service. She was asking specifically for reimbursement of fuel costs for Board members travelling between Dolan Springs and Meadview for meetings. Her request is being referred to the attorney.”

    The more I think about this the more frustrated I become. The law clearly allows for Board members to be reimbursed for expenses related to their service. Reimbursement for fuel costs to attend meetings in our unusually extended Fire District is a reasonable request. So why cannot the Board just make a decision on Charlotte’s proposal? Why must the taxpayers pay another bill to the attorney for hundreds of $$ to do the Board’s job for them? The over budget spending on legal expenses was extraordinary last fiscal year. It really needs to stop!

  3. I couldn’t agree more, Ellen.

    Do you happen to know how much they DID spend on legal in the last fiscal year?

    What do we have that I could post in the forum for quick reference?

    • In the minutes for Special Budget Workshop Meeting 4/30, it is noted that LMRFD is “on track to spend about $34,000 in legal fees”. My notes indicate that Mr. Buldra expanded beyond the info included in the minutes, to say that LMRFD was $20,000 over budget (regarding legal fees). He said other FD our size spend between $5,000 and $10,000/yr. in legal fees. $34,000 is outrageous….and it is budgeted to be repeated this year!

    • P.S… legal fees are included in “Managerial costs”. A more detailed breakdown of income/expenses is another issue I want to see addressed…

  4. And Randy, I thought I already posted a response to your comment, must have forgot to hit the button.

    Ideas need to go into the forum for discussion:
    https://forum.highdesertdirt.com/mohave/lmrfd-discussion-ideas/

    I’m pretty much “talked out”.

    There’s way too much talking and way too little doing. My brain is FULL!

    Besides, I can’t dictate what should be done and it would be great if several people took an interest and worked on comprehensive solutions.

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