Fire board seeking replacement for member who resigned

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New member won't be subject to mail-in recall election on April 23

By Sandy Barnes

The Evergreen Fire Protection District board is seeking a replacement for former member Charles “Chick” Dykeman, who resigned at the Feb. 12 meeting. Dykeman and his family are moving to South Carolina this month.

Dykeman’s resignation allows the board to choose another member who will be exempt from the current recall campaign for the first six months of the term of office.

The other four fire board members are facing recall in an election scheduled for April 23. Members of the citizens’ committee that initiated the recall have chosen candidates but have not yet released their names, according to recall supporter Daniel Koller.

“The recall is ridiculous,” Dykeman said while offering his resignation. Dykeman is moving to South Carolina.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Evergreen resident Bob Gottsman asked board members to reconsider their decision to move forward with the fire training facility at Fire Station 2 in Bergen Park, which is the basis for the recall.

“I like your group, but I don’t agree with this,” said Gottsman. “The community does not need to be further divided. You really represent the community, and that’s why you’re there.”

The $500,000 project, which would enable firefighters to do live burn training, is under way. A smaller training building has been demolished to make room for the new three-story structure, which will have an enclosed room where wood will be burned once a month during training sessions.

Evergreen Fire Chief Mike Weege and board members say the new facility is necessary for adequate training of volunteer firefighters. In the wake of opposition from residents opposed to the project, changes have been made to the original plan. The building height has been reduced from four to three, and Weege is planning to use wood during live burn sessions rather than excelsior and smoke-producing mineral oil.

However, residents opposed to the training facility say they don’t want any live burning to take place at the fire station, which is next to a school and near homes.

Fire board members authorized the initial $55,000 expenditure to print ballots for the recall election at the Feb. 12 meeting. Mail-in ballots will be used in the election, which will cost more than $150,000, according to estimates.

Replacing Dykeman

To find a replacement for Dykeman, the fire board has approved a process that involves advertising the vacancy and accepting applications.

Candidates interested in applying for the position need to submit a written statement of their intention along with a resume of qualifications by Feb. 27. 

Candidates are required to be residents of the fire district for at least 30 days, or own real or personal property in the district.

While presenting the appointment motion, board President George Kling said that desired experience includes a minimum of five years as an active volunteer or paid member of an emergency service or life safety organization. Three or more years in life safety training of administration, five years in public administration and financial experience and technical knowledge are also desired for candidates, he said.

Weege will invite qualified candidates for interviews at a special board meeting scheduled for March 5, at which attendance is required for eligibility.

After interviewing the candidates at the special meeting, board members will vote on one to fill the vacant seat.

A controversy is stirring among recall committee members about possible recall-exempt status for the new board member. An e-mail forwarded to the Canyon Courier from a member of the recall committee stated a concern that the appointed board member will be exempt from recall until the next regular election for the seat.

However, the new board member would be eligible for recall after six months of service, said Carol Hucker, administrative assistant for Evergreen Fire/Rescue.

Other business

During his presentation at the Feb. 12 board meeting, Weege announced that volunteer firefighter Chris Johnson had been chosen as the new deputy chief of fire operations. Johnson has been serving as the IT coordinator for the fire district and is involved in a federally required radio upgrade project involving the city of Denver. 

While discussing mutual aid with other fire departments, Weege said his department is careful about not sending out more than two vehicles during an incident.

Weege also said he has been meeting with other fire chiefs in the area to come up with a plan that would take some of the burden off incident commanders in the event of a wildfire.

At the close of the meeting, board members presented Dykeman with an inscribed memento honoring nearly six years of service to the fire district.

“I want to thank all of you,” Dykeman said. “I have been involved for 46 years as a volunteer in fire departments. That’s been a wonderful experience.”

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.