Palominas Fire District
Regular Board Meeting Minutes
9222 S. Kings Ranch Rd. Palominas, AZ
July 19, 2011
*_BOARD MEETING MINUTES_*
*__*

*_ACRONYMS_*
AFDA ... Arizona Fire Districts Association
EMS ... Emergency Medical Services
PSPRS ... Public Safety Personnel Retirement System

*_OPENING_*
*Meeting called to order *at 7:00 PM by Chairperson, Debbie Stoner
**
*Moment of silence*
Chairperson, Debbie requested all to join in a moment of silence.
**
*Pledge of Allegiance *led by Chairperson, Debbie Stoner
**

*Roll call*
Chuck Mullens:  present
Allaine Benson:  absent
Craig Duncan:  present
Tommy Stoner:  present
Debbie Stoner:  present

*_CALL TO THE PUBLIC_*
*__*
None.

*_MINUTES_*

1.  *Approval of Minutes:  *Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, asked if the Board Members needed additional time to read the minutes, and no Board Member indicated that they needed more time.  **

**

*a.  **Minutes for June 04, 2011 meeting*

Tommy Stoner made a motion to accept the June 04, 2011 special Board meeting minutes as written.
Craig Duncan seconded the motion.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.

**

b.  *Minutes for June 21, 2011 meeting*

Tommy Stoner made a motion to accept the June 21, 2011 regular Board meeting minutes as written.
Craig Duncan seconded the motion.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.

*_REPORTS_*

1.  *Financial report:  *Presentation and clarification of the Financial Report.  **

Board Clerk, Tommy Stoner, read the highlights of the June 2011 Financial summary.  A copy of the June 2011 summary shall be kept in the Board files and is available to the public upon request.

Craig Duncan asked for clarificationon the on the purchases for EMS supplies.  Chief Hunter explained that the firefighters went through their entire inventory list of EMS supplies and purchased non-perishable items that were needed.

Debbie Stoner asked for clarification on the electric bill for Stump Canyon that the Board had asked about before and believes that it had been left on since approximately 2003 when the repeater was removed from that building.  She wanted to know if it was still being paid by the Fire District.  Chief Hunter explained that the owner of the building is out of town and will be back soon.  She said that she didn't want to disconnect the power without letting the owner know.  The amount of the monthly electric was about $12.00 per month and was just the basic service fee.  The estimated payment, over the years, that should *not* have been paid but had been paid due to the failure to disconnect the service in a timely fashion was $1,400.00.

Debbie Stoner commented that she appreciated the printout of the warrants.


2.  *Chief report:  *Presentation and clarification of the Chief's Report.  **

Chief Sherry Hunter presented her Chief's report to the Board.  A copy of the June 2011 Chief's report shall be kept in the Board files and is available to the public upon request.

Chief Hunter pointed out that our firefighters were able to save many homes during the Monument Fire.  She said that they were able to go in behind the main fire front and put out many fires that had started on homes in the area and prevent them from being destroyed.  She explained the purchases over $5,000.00 in the month of June and also included written explanations of each with her report which will be kept in the Board Files and be available to the public upon request.

Chuck Mullens asked for clarification on the certifications held by our full-time firefighters.  He wanted to know why 2 of our full-time firefighters did not hold a Firefighter I & II certification.  He stated that the District had required full-time firefighters to be certified in both Firefighter I & II and EMS.

Tommy Stoner stated that that is not correct.

Chief Hunter asked Chuck Mullens if he knew that the previous Chief's certifications had not been recognized by the State of Arizona since 1997 because he only held a Firefighter I certification issued in 1992.

Chuck Mullens said that he had no idea about that.

Tommy Stoner brought up the pay scale on his computer and explained that our current approved pay scale for full-time firefighters included a pay scale for full-time recruit firefighters who are not required to hold certifications.  He pointed out that the pay scale was less than those who held certifications and this was approved by the Board.

Craig Duncan asked if we currently had any full-time firefighters who did not have the Firefighter I & II certification.

Chief Hunter replied that there are 2, and they are both signed up for the Firefighter I & II class that will be starting in August of this year.  She said that both of them are already EMS certified.

Chuck Mullens asked for clarification on the number of full-time firefighters.

Chief Hunter replied that we currently have 7 full-time firefighters, 5 fully certified and 2 who will be taking the class to become certified.  She also explained that the District has 6 fully certified firefighters and 5 recruits who hold Firefighter I & II certifications in addition to 2 dispatchers and 1 bookkeeper.

Chief Hunter pointed out that the District is cycling all the District's vehicles through the maintenance program through the City of Sierra Vista for an initial complete inspection.

She pointed out that the full-time Administrative Assistant had resigned and that the bookkeeper had stepped up to help take over some of her duties; in addition firefighters have also stepped up to help make sure that the Administrative Assistant's duties are not neglected.

**

3.  *Board Member report:  *This is the time for Board Members to report on recent activities of a Board Member that relate to the District such as attending training seminars, meetings or similar events.  **

Chuck Mullens gave a report on his attending of the AFDA conference in Tucson, Arizona.  He said that the most notable thing that he found out was that a conflict of interest violation is a class 6 felony; and that had just been reviewed by the highest court in the land and found to be reasonable.

Craig Duncan asked that an item be placed on the next agenda to consider raising the compensation for the full-time Administrative Assistant position.

Debbie Stoner gave a report on the AFDA conference in Tucson, Arizona that she attended.  She said that one of the classes was on Human Resource information.  She said that she felt that one day of training was not near enough training to go through all the information that was taught.  She told about a new class that was offered on the Basics of a Fire District.  She said that she found it very informative and that the AFDA is thinking about making this new class one of the required classes to obtain a certificate.


*_NEW BUSINESS_*

1.  */_Item requested by Debbie Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible approval of changing the starting time of the District Board regular meeting as well as consideration, discussion and possible approval to change the date of the August regular meeting.

Debbie Stoner made a motion that the regular starting time for all future regular Board meetings be 6:00 PM instead of 7:00 PM.
Tommy Stoner seconded the motion.

Chuck Mullens asked for clarification that this would be for all future regular Board meetings and not just the August 2011 Board meeting.

Debbie Stoner said that her motion was for all future regular Board meetings.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye

Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.

Debbie Stoner asked that the August Board meeting be changed and asked for recommendations from other Board Members.

Craig Duncan said that he preferred the 30th of August.

Debbie Stoner made a motion to change the regular August Board meeting that would have been on the 16th of August to the 30th of August at 6:00 PM in the Training Center.
Craig Duncan seconded the motion.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, asked if any of the Board Members had any other discussion and received none.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye

Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.


2.  */_Item requested by Debbie Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible approval of recent and future trainings for which Board Members may be reimbursed.

Debbie Stoner suggested that the Board consider approving reimbursement for the recent AFDA conference in Tucson Arizona as well as a 1 day class on electronic record keeping put on by the Arizona State Library in Phoenix, Arizona on the 3rd of August 2011.

Craig Duncan asked for clarification that the class on the 3rd of August was only 1 day.

Debbie Stoner replied that it was an all-day class and that she would like to drive up the day before and stay in a motel the night before the class then drive back the day of the class in the evening.

Debbie Stoner made a 2 part motion:  First that Board Members who attended the AFDA conference in Tucson, Arizona are reimbursed for travel and meals, excluding lunches that were provided, and also those Board Members who attend the Arizona State Library class on the 3rd of August be reimbursed for mileage, meals and 1 night motel stay.
Tommy Stoner seconded the motion.

Chuck Mullens asked for clarification that this only was for Board Members, because he had a problem with sending an Interim Chief to training because he said that, "she was not qualified as a part-timer."

Craig Duncan suggested that the Board consider making a policy that motel stays be only for approved for classes that are in Phoenix and beyond for classes that are only one-day classes.

Debbie Stoner said that her motion only covers classes through the 3rd of August 2011.  She said that if the Board wanted a policy that perhaps this could be decided in a future meeting.

Tommy Stoner pointed out that the Board Policy manual will be brought before the Board for review and this may be added to that manual.

Craig Duncan agreed to wait and review the proposed Board Policy manual.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.


3.  */_Item requested by Tommy Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible approval of 5 year plan for the capital outlay account.  Possibility of adding the establishment of water sources throughout the District.  Possibility of adding the construction of well protection houses.

Chief Hunter provided a written 5 year plan for the Board to consider.

Debbie Stoner mentioned that this plan is required by Cochise County.

Chief Hunter read the plan aloud and emphasized the need for additional water supplies and the need to protect existing water supplies from freezing.  She mentioned that the well protection buildings could also be used to house grounds maintenance tools and equipment.  She mentioned purchasing of property for future use for building additional fire stations.

Chuck Mullens Addressed the purchasing of property by saying that, "There is a place, right up the road here, Copper Hills.  We have a Copper Hills subdivision on the left as you are going toward Bisbee.  We have an agreement with that man that we signed with the County and him to build a station there and annex his subdivision to increase our area of responsibility.  He was going to give us the land; pave all the parking lots and stuff, put in a helipad; and we have an agreement with him already; and now you are considering buying property?

Chief Hunter mentioned that the Copper Hills subdivision is at the East edge of our Fire District and that a station in that location would not help to cover the other gaps in our district.  She emphasized that the District needs to strategically place fire stations to best serve the entire District.  She also mentioned that it is best to purchase land while the price is low.

Chuck Mullens said in a belittling tone, "So, your deal is that you would rather spend money than get a free station place and all the infrastructure for it."

Chief Hunter said that if somebody will donate a lot to us, it's always the best way to go, however, only if the lot is strategically located.

Chuck Mullens said, "What we have right now is a lack of funds to build 2 stations."

Chief Hunter said that we are not wanting to build 2 stations right now.

Chuck Mullens said, "We've already contracted to do that with that man, so we can't – I suppose we can jump out of a contract and risk the lawsuits etc. that going with it, but we have an agreement with the County on that."

Chief Hunter said that she was not talking about that.  She said that she was talking about securing additional properties that we can build on later as the District grows.  She said that the time to secure the lots is when the market is "friendly" and we can find something that we like; we are not pressured to get anything too quickly.

Chuck Mullens said, "We have already put aside a lot of money to build that station, and if we use it to buy properties somewhere else, we will not be able to live up to our contractual agreements with that man, that subdivision, and the County, which is going to put us in a hard spot.

Debbie Stoner said that she has looked for that contract and cannot find it.

Tommy Stoner said that the Board was off-topic.

Chuck Mullens disagreed.

Debbie Stoner said that this something that we need to look into.  She said that the Board is not telling the Chief to go buy the property right now.  She said that this is a 5 year plan to look into it.

Chuck Mullens said, "I believe that we have a 3 year agreement with that man.  He plans on being built-out in 3 years and then having us build a station, fill it full of equipment and man it in 3 years.

Tommy Stoner pointed out that this is only a plan and it does not give the Chief, or anyone else, the authority to spend any money.  He said that this is only a plan for the reserve account that is required to be updated from time to time for our capital outlay expense account.

Debbie Stoner said that she has read through the rest of the proposed plan and asked if the other Board Members need to hear the rest of the plan.

There was no response from the other Board Members.

Tommy Stoner made a motion that we go ahead and approve it as a 5 year plan and get it signed and get it to the County.
Craig Duncan seconded the motion.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.


4.  */_Item requested by Tommy Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible action on reviewing the bids and final approval of the purchase of a new water tender.

Board Members looked over the 3 bid packages that had been obtained by Chief Hunter.  The Bid packages will be placed in the official Board records and will be available for viewing by public upon request; also copies will be available to the public upon request.

Tommy Stoner asked that Chief Hunter explain the differences, if any, of the 3 bids.

Chief Hunter explained that the specifications for the Tender as well as all optional packages were the same for all 3 bids.

Tommy Stoner made a motion that the District accept the Bid From Truck Works, Inc.  add to the Bid, the yellow–green chevrons on the rear bumper, the aluminum frame portable drop tank, and the galvanized plumbing.
Debbie Stoner seconded the motion.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, asked for any more discussion and received no response.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.


5.  */_Item requested by Tommy Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible action on declaring some old brush trucks as surplus to the needs of the Palominas Fire District and determining a method of disposing of them.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, read portions of previous years' Board Minutes concerning the disposal of vehicles to show the history of this agenda item.

"August 8, 2002:  Disposal of trucks:  Utility asking $2000.00, truck 31 and truck 35 will go for $3,000.00.  The trucks can be review between August 22nd and 31st ."

"February 23, 2006 Disposal of trucks:  Sara made the motion that Jeff finds out what it would take to have Helping Our Own to pick up the truck[s] at their own expense and remove them from the District.  Chuck Seconded-passed."

"March 23, 2006 Disposal of Trucks:  Geoff talked with Helping Our Own.  They will send a someone to pick up the trucks.  They need the titles also."

"April 27, 2006 Disposal of Trucks – Brush 31, Brush 35, and Utility Truck:  James has been working on clearing the title[s]."

"June 22, 2006 Disposal of Trucks:  They are ready to be picked up.  James has to contact Geoff to arrange pick up."

"July 27, 2006 Disposal of Trucks:  None."

"August 24, 2006 Disposal of Trucks:  Nothing new.  The insurance has been dropped."

"September 28, 2006 Disposal of Trucks:  Nothing new."

"November 16, 2006 Disposal of Trucks – Brush 31, Brush 35, & the Utility Truck – update – Geoff has contacted them.  T – 34 – a company has made the offer to purchase the truck.  The Board would like to offer it for bid and placed in the paper.  The Board will open bids at the January meeting.  30 days post marked by 1/5/2007.  $3,500.00 is the starting bid."

"December 14, 2006 Disposal of Trucks – Brush 31, Brush 35, & the Utility Truck – update – The time frame is 3 – 4 months[.]T-34- The Board has approved the department going out for bids."

"January 23, 2007 Disposal of Trucks – Brush 31, Brush 35, & the Utility Truck – update – The man Geoff was dealing with is no longer with the company.  Sara made the motion to call Naco Sonora and see if the[y] can use the trucks.  If they can donated them to their department.  What ever is left put out for bids.  Rick Seconded – Motion was withdrawn.  Sara made the motion to go out for bids on T 34 and table the deposal of B31, B35 and the utility truck pending the research of donating them to and out of country district.  Rick Seconded-passed[.]"

"February 22, 2007 Disposal of Trucks – Brush 31, Brush 35, & the Utility Truck – update – Sara made the motion to donate 31, 35, and the utility truck to the Naco[,] Arizona fire department.  If they accept all three go as a group.  Ed seconded – passed[.]T-34- Still pending on bids."

"March 29, 2007 Disposal of Trucks – Brush 31, Brush 35, & the Utility Truck – update – As soon as the trucks are at S2 [assume Station 2] Naco will pick them up.  They have accepted the donation.  T-34- The plug wire was replaced."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, interjected that the trucks never made it to Station 2 until March of this year when the District required the Chief [James Leiendecker] to take everything off of his land and put it at Station 2.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner resumed reading from the previous years' Minutes.

"April 26, 2007 Disposal of Trucks – The trucks have not been moved to Station 2 yet[.]Naco is also interested in T34[.]"

"May 24, 2007 Disposal of Trucks – nothing new at this time[.]"

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said that the last thing that she could find was a Chief Report dated February 28, 2008 which she said only mentions tender 34 and then she read from this report.

"Equipment:  Tender 34 – The Naco Fire Chief has verbally asked if we would donate Tender 34 to Naco Fire District.  We had one offer a few months ago from a contractor, however this contractor is no longer interested due to the construction slump.  Naco would like to use the truck in the Bisbee Junction area.  It would probably go into Mexico for garbage dump fires.  Our District is impacted by the smoke from these fires.  The tender would help extinguish these fires more quickly.  The Chief recommends the donation of Tender 34 to the Naco Fire District."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said that she understands that the Naco Fire District came and picked up Tender 34 in March of this year [2011].

The Naco Fire Chief was in attendance and confirmed that the Naco Fire District had picked up Tender 34 and they are currently in possession of it.  He also mentioned that the other trucks [Brush 31, Brush 35, and the Utility truck] were not at Station 2 when they picked up Tender 34.

Tommy Stoner asked if they had received the title to Tender 34.

The Naco Fire Chief confirmed that the Naco Fire District did receive the title to Tender 34.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said that one of the thing that a Fire District has to do before getting rid of things is to pass a resolution declaring, the items to be disposed of, as surplus to the needs of the Fire District.  She said that the Board needs to pass a resolution declaring Tender 34, Brush 31, Brush 35, and the Utility truck as surplus so that the District can make this right.  She said that once the Board declares them surplus, then the District can then go ahead and "stand by" the vote of the previous Board because we can see the intent was to give these to Naco Fire District.

Debbie Stoner made a motion that the Board adopt resolution number 2011-07-19-01 declaring Tender 34, Brush 31, Brush 35, and the utility truck as being surplus equipment.
Craig Duncan seconded the motion.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, asked if there was any other discussion.

Chuck Mullens asked the Naco Fire Chief, who was present in the audience, if Naco Fire District already had possession of Tender 34.

The Naco Fire Chief replied that the Naco Fire District already had possession of Tender 34.

Chuck Mullens then asked the Naco Fire Chief who released Tender 34 to them.

The Naco Fire Chief replied, "Chief Leiendecker."

Chuck Mullens the asked, "When?"

The Naco Fire Chief indicated that he thought it was in March of 2011.  He started to say that he could look at the title, but then said that he couldn't look at the title because it had already been transferred over to the Naco Fire District's name.  He said that Chief Leiendecker signed the title over to Naco Fire District, and that the Palominas Fire District's bookkeeper who was a notary notarized it.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said that the reason that the Board is adopting this resolution is because by State Law the District Board has to pass a resolution declaring the vehicles as surplus.  She said that she looked through all the minutes as well as Sherry Kemery's files and she was unable to find where the District had declared these vehicles as surplus equipment.  She said that we have to make this right.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, stated that the former Board had already voted to donate Brush 31, Brush 35, and the utility truck to Naco Fire District.  [Reference:  Palominas Fire District Board Meeting Minutes February, 22, 2007 agenda item 6]

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, supplied a release form for Palominas Fire District and Naco Fire District to sign.  A copy of the release form will be kept in the Palominas Fire District Board files and will be available to the public upon request.


6.  */_Item requested by Debbie Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible action to select and approve an auditor to conduct the Palominas Fire District's annual audit and creating the District's year-end report for the fiscal year beginning July 01, 2010 and ending June 30, 2011.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, passed out packets of information from 2 different auditing companies.  The packets will be placed in the records of the Board and made available to the public upon request.

The Board Members discussed the costs of each and other issues about the 2 companies.

Craig Duncan said that he would like some time to look over the information before making any decision.

Craig Duncan made a motion to table this item until the next Board meeting.
Tommy Stoner seconded the motion to table this item.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Abstain
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 3 in favor and 1 abstaining.
**


7.  */_Item requested by Tommy Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible approval of the Palominas Fire District Board of Directors' policies.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, passed out the proposed Palominas Fire District Board Policy Manual which had been written at the request of the Board by the District's Human Resource Advisor, Brenda Tranchina.  A copy of the manual was also placed into Allaine Benson's box.  A copy of this policy manual will be kept in the District Board files and made available to the public upon request.

Craig Duncan made a motion to table this item until the next Board meeting to give all the Board Members the opportunity to read the Policy Manual.
Tommy Stoner seconded the motion to table this item.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Aye
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 4 in favor.


8.  */_Item requested by Debbie Stoner:  _/***Consideration and discussion of Interim Fire Chief, Sherry Hunter's performance.  At the discretion of the Chairperson, this item may be opened for public comment.  There may also be some letters that the chairperson may choose to read.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, turned the floor over to Chuck Mullens.

Chuck Mullens said, "I've been approached by multiple people already about this fire; wondering why we had, how many, 57 houses burned up in our District?"

Chief Sherry Hunter answered 47.

Chuck Mullens continued, "47, and multiple outbuildings.  And, it seems that some of those buildings were 70 and 80 and 100 years old, I guess; never been burned before, and we've had lots of fires in the mountains before.  The people with the cross up there, I don't know what the name of that place or anything.  It burned their home up this time.  It didn't burn the cross.  They actually had a fire up there once before; 10 years ago, it was started by a welder on something; right at the cross, everything was saved that time.  I had a lot of people really unhappy about what's going on and what's happened and with the amount of stuff that was burned.  It can't be passed on to the-"Chuck Mullens was interrupted by the Chairperson.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said, "Chuck, we're going for the performance of our Chief.  No one has seen the likes of how this fire behaved.

Chuck Mullens asked, "Do you want to give my little talk for me or do you want me to talk?"

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, started to say that she wanted him to keep it on – Then she told Chuck Mullens to go ahead.

Chuck Mullens said, "So anyhow, there has been some lawsuits and everything already.  I think the performance is very poor.  I understand on the 3rd and 4th day of the fire when stuff started burning down toward Moson Road that our Interim Fire Chief left the active fire, went to check out her own house [that] was several miles from the fire.  I got a report of that.  I don't know if it's true or not.  I have no way of verifying these things yet, but I will be.  And I have a real problem in addition to that specific fire thing.  I had a real problem with the way the fire was handled at the Leiendecker's property across from the station; is that station 2 down there, at Miracle Valley?  That fire – Sherry had to be told by Chief Miller [Fire Chief of Fry Fire District who was acting Chief of Palominas at the time.] to fight the fire from the black.  She denied that, and I've got it on recording.  That did happen.  She tried to take Fry Fire's personnel off of that fire; off of an active fire that was threatening structures, and put them in the center of the black to fight mesquite trees that were burning out there with nothing around them left to burn.  Mesquite trees don't put out enough sparks to start fire anywhere else.  And we had actively 6 or 8 different houses threatened by that fire.  Fry Fire District had considerable amount of discussion over that.  I have some letters from them where Chief told them to pull off of the fire and go fight the stuff in the middle of the black, and, I guess just let the houses burn.  I'm not sure what her plan was there.  However, I find that those two things in addition to having personnel that are not certified Firefighter II by the State.  We have two personnel that are not now, and it's taking 9 months to get them certified.  One of them is in a supervisor position.  I find that's an untenable and liability problem for the Fire District.  I've had multiple times where she decided she was going to, I guess, censure a Board Member in her own little way; that I couldn't copy stuff on the copiers up there unless she saw or could read what I was copying when it's none of her business.  I was fairly well under the impression she's my employee; the Board's employee instead of the other way around.  And then when it came down to getting reimbursed, because the machines were all broke up there, and down here – the copy machines – we had some discussion about whose fault the machines were being broke, and it seemed to be all my fault, which I find kind of ridiculous because I wasn't the only person to use those, by a long shot, and I believe the only thing wrong with them is they wouldn't replace the cartridges in them.  So, then there was the problem that you [Chief Hunter] brought that to the Board and the Board decided to change their policies for copies to - from $.15 to $.25 or whatever cents a copy and change Board procedures where Board Members got copies free.  Now I find that it's cheaper to get copies in town.  I get them for $.05 or $.07 cents a copy in town instead of here and I don't have to listen to the Fire Chief tell me what I can or cannot do and I'm an elected official and she's basically my employee.  I have a problem with her handling personnel.  We've had – we're on our 6th or 7th administrator that does basically everything for the Fire District that the Fire Chief doesn't handle.  In 3 months or 4 months we've gone through 6 or 7 different personnel there.  I have a problem with her getting PSPRS payments for retirement when she's an Interim Chief, which is a part-time Chief.  I have letters that were concealed from the rest of the Board; they're not letters, they're e-mails, from the Board Chair to the lawyer."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, cautioned Chuck Mullens to be careful what he was about to say.

Chuck Mullens said, "I don't have to be careful about anything.  I was supposed to have gotten those.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said that he had received them from Donna Aversa [the District's Attorney] with a cover letter stating that it was not to be disseminated.

Chuck Mullens said, "I'm not disseminating, I'm just talking about it; where, obviously, the Board Chair concealed information from the Board's lawyer about hiring this person as an Interim Chief.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, immediately stopped Chuck Mullens as he began disclosing the contents of the confidential e-mails, and told him that he could be violating State Law.  She then turned the floor over to Craig Duncan.

Craig Duncan said, "I think Sherry's performance has been good.  I've heard from people Three Canyons, Wild Horse, by the River, they've been happy; especially with this fire, I've talk to some of the Forest guys and they were very pleased with how she performed.  Under the scrutiny that you're going to be under with certain Board Members certain things, I think she's handled the situation good, and we need to start discussing about going farther.  I still want to have it out for bid, but we need to go ahead and get that going.  I just wanted to wait until we had the fire done and out of the situation so we could determine whether we want to keep her full-time or not."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, asked Craig Duncan if he would give an inkling which way he was leaning.

Craig Duncan said, "No, I will not give you an inkling, but we'll have it in September; but I've been impressed.  I was a skeptical, to be honest.  I just want to let Chuck know that, you're only a Board Member when you're in a quorum and when we are here.  If you are outside or just by yourself, you're a Board Member but you have no authority.  You can't go in there and command her to do things."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said to Chuck Mullens, "What you just insinuated was she works for the Board and then you proceeded to say that you were up there wanting copies and you were upset because she was doing something.  You are not there as a representative of this Board.

Chuck Mullens disagreed with the Chairperson saying, "I'm sorry, I was.  I'm an elected official."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, said, "You are an elected official, but you only have the authority when it is given to you as a vote by this Board.  You cannot, as one Board Member, go up there and decide that you're going to run off 'tons' of copies and cost our District money when you won't even tell us what you were trying to do."

Craig Duncan said, "I just thing that Chuck's prior prejudices have really affected his judgment on what she has done.  Chuck, I was skeptical at the beginning; if you'd listen to what she is really trying to do, you might be impressed of what she's gotten done; if you just take out the prejudice."

Chuck Mullens said, "It's not a matter of prejudice.  We've never burned 40 some houses down in one fire before."

Craig Duncan said, "You know, Chuck, That fire, I've heard from people, have never seen that kind of fire behavior before, and I've heard it from multiple people.  And, you know, seeing the fire first hand, you can't blame that fire on Sherry, and it was not even Palominas' Fire.  It was the Forest's [Service] that had command of that fire; from start to finish, I believe.  Am I correct?"

Chief Hunter replied that it had started on State land and that the fire had moved down into Palominas Fire District after the type 1 team was already here.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, turned the floor over to Tommy Stoner.

Tommy Stoner said, "As the Clerk, I have seen a great deal of progress toward getting all the paperwork together in one place and getting it at least started toward filing, and getting it organized.  I've seen Chief Hunter take command of these situations and get a lot accomplished in the past 3 1/2 months.  We've got a long way to go, but it's not an easy task.  There were multiple things that were not ever done that should have been done, that should have been kept up with that were just left undone, and it's not an easy task to catch up 10 to 15 years' worth of failure to accomplish the task in the proper manner.  It takes time, but I've seen that she has 'stepped up' and is 'taking these things on' one step at a time and keeping everything above board and honest and moving forward."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, took the floor and read some letters that she had received from community members.

The first letter was from Barbara Armstrong who lives near Short Dusty Lane.  "This letter is being sent in support of Interim Fire Chief Sherry Hunter and to request your serious consideration on making her appointment permanent.  We have known Ms.  Hunter for several years and have seen her dedication to the community, her job as firefighter, and the bettering of her family first hand.  We have watched as she took on more and more responsibilities and reached out for more and more knowledge to make herself a better employee, person and parent.  She has never shied away from asking for help or guidance from reliable sources whenever she has needed it and is always willing to learn.  We believe that if she is given the opportunity and the full support of the Board, she will do the job we need done as Chief of Palominas Fire District.  We think very highly of her honesty and integrity and work-ethic and hope you will see fit to make this happen.  Sincerely, Barbara Armstrong"

The second letter was from Lori Chiriani.  "To the Palominas Fire Board, We live in the area that was affected by the recent Monument Fire.  Thankfully our home was not burnt thanks to the many fire crews who fought it.  We have noticed that Sherry Hunter has done a terrific job as Fire Chief.  She has shown tremendous abilities in a very stressful situation.  Lori and William Chiriani"

The third letter was from Gene Wilkenson.  "Debbie, Both my wife and I are in support of Sherry for Fire Chief of the Palominas Fire Department.  We reside on Running Coyote Trail and cannot make the meeting, but want to cast our support for Sherry.  We feel there could be no better choice than her.  Respectfully, Gene and Judy Wilkenson"

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, related to the Board that she had received a phone call from Pat Call, Cochise County Board Member.  She said that Pat Call had urged her very strongly to hold on to Sherry Hunter.  She said that Pat Call had nothing but good to say on her willingness and ability to work with the many departments who were involved in the Monument Fire.

Debbie Stoner said, "Now for myself.  First of all, from what I have seen, her do with the stations and with the paperwork and with all of the 'stumbling blocks' that certain people have 'thrown at her feet' I believe to try to make her fail; she has been able to 'bounce back' from every single one of them.  It's been very stressful.  I've gotten nothing but good responses back from, not just the Fire Chiefs who I met at the AFDA conference; they would go out of their way to look me up and to make sure she got the notice of a 'thank you' and a 'job well done'.  She has, in my opinion, not done what you are insinuating, Chuck.  The liability for the firefighters working who don't have 'Firefighter I & II'; I talked directly with Jones Insurance, our insurance, and we can run whomever we want wherever we want and there isn't a liability there.  First of all, these guys have been with us for many years; this was not brought up before, but now it is.  The copying paper, you addressed a little bit, you as one person cannot just go in and do as you please.  You're like any other [member of the] public; I am too.  It has to be a Board decision.  Any reimbursement has to come through this Board.  She's had one Admin since she has become Chief; the other one walked out the day she became Chief; locked her [Chief Hunter] out of the office, if I remember right.  I believe this is the first time Chief Miller has lost houses in his District.  That fire has gone over these mountains many times; never blew down in Miller Canyon, but it blew down this time.  Because of how dry it is and the freezes in February that we had; all of these things built up to that, Chuck.  We knew it was going to be a bad season.  We threw everything at it.  I think she has done outstanding.  If I had my choice, I would make her Fire Chief tonight.  And, I understand Craig wants to put this out for others to put in an application, that's fine.  I think she has done an outstanding job, and I hear nothing but kudos from the community.  We have Wild Horse wanting to give donations of some kind because of what they've seen in our District and how we've come up and evolved.  I think that's a big thing."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, opened the floor for anyone from the public to make comments.

Jesus Morales, Naco, Arizona Fire Chief asked to speak.  He said, "That day on the fire – I've been on the Naco Fire Department for almost 20 years.  I've been Fire Chief for 8 years.  I know what Sherry has been going through.  In know how it is to start from the bottom and work your way up to prove yourself.  It took me 3 years to prove myself to my community that I could handle the task.  Even though I was young, you know, it's been a while, but it's pretty hard.  Regarding the fire, I talked to Chief Miller, I talked to [Chief] Randy Redmond, and I talked to people who live in your District who live right her on Cool Oaks; one of them a retired firefighter, and he used to be also with the Forest Service, and in his years of firefighting he's never seen anything like this.  Chief Redmond has never seen anything like this.  It was something pretty scary for all of us.  And, when I started working with Sherry on the County mutual aid call, I asked what she needed done, from my department.  And immediately she told us what to do, where to go.  One of them is where we protected the school.  And by what she told us how to work things out, because she had her hands full dealing with everybody, so we just followed her orders;Hey, you know what, the school is still there, so that means that we all did a pretty good job.  You know what, Sherry; it's going to be hard for you.  You're going to get a lot of criticism from everybody; you're going to get bad criticism; really bad.  You're going to get their comments.  Because we responded to this fire, even though it was a mutual aid call, I got criticism from people in my community.  'What were you guys doing over there?'  'Why were you spending my tax dollars over there?'  You know, it's going to happen, I've gone through that, and Sherry just started as an Interim Fire Chief she's got a quite a bit farther to go to prove herself more on a personal bases and as a Fire Chief I feel that she is doing a pretty good job.  And you know what, it's going to be hard, like I said, it's going to be very hard, but, once you start getting moral support from your own crew members the community will see that and pretty soon, you know what, most of your community is going to be behind you.  And, you know what; I'm a straight-forward guy.  If you were doing a really bad job, I'd tell you straight out.  I would tell you guys.  And whoever knows me knows that that's the kind of guy I am.  But, like I said, to me you're doing a good job.  Keep it up.  It was unfortunate that we had to work at this fire, you know, on a mutual aid call, but this has to be a wake-up call for all of us, because, what happened here in Three Canyons and Hereford and all this area can happen in Bisbee.  It happened in Douglas; they had a big fire.  They lost a whole bunch of houses there in Douglas.  So, we all got to work together and she has actually stepped up to the plate on how we can work together as a team including San Jose and including Bisbee.  So, by saying that, she has proven to me that she is willing to work with local people.  There are a few Fire Chiefs out there that won't do that.  They won't even bother calling you for help, even though you are 3 miles away, 4 miles away, they won't because they're too proud of themselves, and she did.  When she needed help she called us, and we were there.  And, right now, whenever you guys need help our Department is always willing and we are there for you guys to support you guys in any way we can.  Like I said, I think she is doing a good job."

Brian Olson, a firefighter with the Palominas Fire District, said, "I've been working side-by-side with her for a long time.  There's no problem for me to back up somebody who backs me up when go into a fire zone.  We've had firefighters quit on a job here and that's not the kind of people we need here.  We need people with a backbone, and Sherry has a backbone to cover us when we have a problem with personnel or reserves who don't measure up to where we need them to be.  Over the years I've seen what she had done.  She out-paces me in a heartbeat."

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, turned the floor over to Chief Sherry Hunter.

Chief Hunter said, "Well, I feel like this has been a challenging job.  I feel like it's been a good fight; it's an opportunity to take Palominas to a new level; not just for our community, but for our firefighters.  My philosophy, when I started, was to not dwell on the past, but to try and look forward and move forward.  And I believe that with the challenges that I've had it been nothing but a day-to-day challenge, but I feel rewarded in my own way too because the reason I took this was for the community and our firefighters to have the opportunity to excel and be all that they can be.  I really feel like there's a lot of room for growth with just our District and our community and working with outlying Departments.  I think if we could work this out the way that my dreams would like it to be this would the most awesome District any of us could ever imagine by letting each firefighter reach their goals, their own limits could be redefined.  I'm not planning on quitting; I'm planning on sticking to it.  That's my goal.  When I say that I'm not leaving; if you guys don't keep me I won't be here, but I'm not leaving.  But, I want to see this thing through.  I want to see that 5 year plan come together.  I would like to see our employment grow.  I would like to see training opportunities excel.  That's just a few of my goals.  My goals are so long this meeting could go on forever.  But, nobody could have stopped that fire.  If we could have stopped it we, would have stopped it.  And, the sad part about that fire is nobody could stop it.  No matter how hard we tried or what we tried to do, all we could do was work together on it and lick our wounds each night and be ready for a licking the next day.  I did everything I could do including pray and work with the best I could find to work with.  But, I don't think anybody who says they could have stopped that fire knows what they're talking about.  I don't think that you're listening to the right group, Chuck, because I respect you as an individual, but I can tell you that there's not a person that said they could stop that fire that I would be listening to; not one of them.  Because if they were there, and they said that they could stop it, I don't believe it.  Everybody I saw work that fire worked as hard as they possibly could and every angle of it."


9.  */_Item requested by Tommy Stoner:  _/***Consideration, discussion and possible action concerning the contract with the Copper Hills subdivision.

Clerk, Tommy Stoner, said he was scanning some records and he found a contract with no signature on it so he went through the minutes and found that the Board has never authorized a contract with the Copper Hills subdivision.  He said that he has been trying to get a copy of the signed contract.  He said that he has gone through all the records that we have and the only thing that he found was a document that has no signature on it and a lot of blanks that are not filled in.  He said that if someone did sign a contract with the Copper Hills subdivision then he believes that they signed it illegally because he cannot find any records where the Board authorized it.

Debbie Stoner suggested that we table this item until the next Board Meeting to give her time to go to the County to see if there is anything recorded.  It is possible that the original documents were taken to the County and there was none placed into the Board Files.

Debbie Stoner made a motion to table this item until we find out more information from the County as well as more digging into our own minutes to find out if this was recorded.
Craig Duncan seconded the motion.

Chairperson, Debbie Stoner, called for the vote.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Aye
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Motion passed with 4 in favor.

*_CALL TO THE PUBLIC_*
None.

*_ADJOURNMENT_*
Tommy Stoner made a motion to adjourn the meeting.
Craig Duncan seconded the motion.
Voting results:  
Chuck Mullens:  Aye
Allaine Benson:  _absent_
Craig Duncan:  Aye
Tommy Stoner:  Aye
Debbie Stoner:  Aye
Meeting adjourned at 8:49PM