Timberline FPD undergoing some changes

Chief Reorganizing Department and Helping Board Meet 2015 Zero Deficit Budget Goals

by Heather Worrell

The Timberline Fire Protection District Board of Directors called their meeting to order at 7 pm and then started with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence for fallen firefighters. All board members were presented accompanied by Business Manager Jennifer Hinderman and Fire Chief Glenn Levy. There were no changes to the agenda, presentations, public comment, correspondence/email or legal issues discussed. The minutes from the April 13th regular meeting were approved and next Paul Ondr presented the Treasurer’s report. Member at Large Chip Smith requested a statement with breakdown of some expenses in the last month that were not clearly detailed on the report. Ondr reported that all looked well and his goal to reconcile the bank statements regularly had been accomplished for the past two months.

Next Chief Levy provided his report and it was obvious he’s been very busy with his new duties. He started by presenting an organizational chart to “ensure both fiscal and organization efficiency.” Reorganization of the department has occurred after a thorough review of responsibilities, assignments and a staff survey to help identify areas to enhance performance. Chief Levy oversees four Assistant Chiefs – of Operations, Technical Services, Facilities, and Maintenance. Levy stated, “The reorganization will assist in creating a long-term strategic plan for the four major areas within Timberline.” Levy next presented a consent agenda to inform the board of previously scheduled time off and his plan to meet his responsibilities when away. His policy is to “assign one of my assistant chiefs as acting fire chief any time I am unavailable, as well as emailing both the Board and the entire department.”

Chief Levy next addressed the board’s goal to end 2015 with a zero deficit budget in the General Fund. He has been diligently reviewing the budget and looking for ways to make this goal possible. He suggested limiting some programs, personnel costs, organizational efficiencies, and reprioritizing several areas in order to come up with an additional $45,000 to allow the department to meet this goal. “This will be the first time in several years we will have been able to meet this goal. This process will give us time to evaluate inventory and realistically review our current equipment, surplus equipment in storage, and financial reserves. Maybe more importantly, this process will be the foundation for creating a sustainable 3-5 year strategic plan that will take Timberline well into the future.”

Chief Levy then requested that the board of directors formally evaluate his performance on a quarterly basis. “I want to make sure I am meeting your needs and we have a process for improvement. The position of Fire Chief is one of sacred trust. One component of establishing trust is an open and honest review of all aspects of managing the department, readiness, personnel, budget, and strategic planning.” The Board agreed this would be helpful and is putting together the necessary forms and requirements for the formal evaluation process. Levy then asked for permission to revise the purchases to be made through the DOLA Gaming Impact Grant. The original grant award was for $34,575 and required a $15,575 match. Levy noted, “Continuing forward with this grant will give us a significant amount of new equipment, most of which is a duplication of existing equipment or simply not needed at this time.” Levy recommends purchasing equipment for low angle and ice rescue which would revise the grant to be less than $6,000 total with a $1,500 match. (Low angle basic rope rescue as it applies to the mountain environment includes anchor building, belay techniques, rappelling and utilizing mechanical advantage for raising systems.)The board agreed to modify the grant and only request needed equipment to be primarily ice rescue suits, slings, rope, rope bags and low angle hardware. Chief Levy then presented his monthly report.

In the month of April there were 38 calls, with two notable incidents both at the recreation center. Levy has met with both the Black Hawk and Central City Fire Chiefs to discuss operations and collaborative efforts. Levy has increased low angle service in the department by creating three low angle rescue kits. He will be training the department on these types of rescues in the near future. He also recently completed training for wildland fire rescue with the assistance of Chief Ondr and Lt. Hoyl. All equipment and vehicles have been checked more thoroughly, resulting in several repairs over the month. Levy would like to see a strategic plan in 2016 for a repair and maintenance schedule. He has also reached out and met with the High Country Auxiliary to help them meet their needs and commented, “They are absolutely amazing.” Levy met with Gilpin Ambulance Authority and their Chief. He summarized, “We have some excellent collaboration in the works to include Timberline responding to all medicals in the district, low angle rescue, ice rescue and joint training sessions.” Levy has also met with Gilpin Dispatch and Sergeant Steve Watson to find ways to make their efforts run more smoothly. The Chief reported that two volunteer firefighters have left and three new were recruited. Levy also introduced his new program, Timberline University to the board of directions. This program is “like Facebook for Timberline. All things and all knowledge will be encompassed online.” The university requires a username and password and allows firefighters to work on training and access resources 24/7 year-round. This was created to “help us be consistent and have one place for everything.”

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel at 8:36 pm and came back to the regular session at 9:17 pm. Once back in the regular session the board said they approved their official contract to appoint Chief Levy as Department Chief. He will receive an annual salary of $65K with three weeks of leave accrued annually and a cell phone stipend. In old business, the board is done staffing and will be removing this from the agenda. There has been no progress on the Rollinsville station and it will be removed from the agenda to be added back when there’s a need. The Board has received their draft report from the Strategy Planning workshop from Don Taylor. Chip Smith presented a letter of agreement for the board to approve getting exact drawings made up for Station One remodels. The plans are necessary to receive bids on the project and the board approved the contract and expenses.

Timberline’s next meeting will be an open house on June 16th at Station Four located at 5927 Magnolia Road; Nederland, CO 80466. The open house will feature a BBQ at 6 pm and the regular meeting will follow at 7 pm. The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 pm.

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