New EFR board members promise transparency, accountability

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/13/22

The three new members of the Evergreen Fire/Rescue board of directors plus the new board president vow to bring more transparency to the board and the department, provide more avenues of communication with constituents and firefighters and improve the department’s culture.

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New EFR board members promise transparency, accountability

Posted

The three new members of the Evergreen Fire/Rescue board of directors plus the new board president vow to bring more transparency to the board and the department, provide more avenues of communication with constituents and firefighters and improve the department’s culture.

Julie Ann Courim, Stacey Ballinger and John Putt were elected to the board by a large margin earlier this month. On May 10, they joined Chuck Ridings and John Porter, who are in the middle of their first terms on the board, at a board meeting.

Ridings was elected board president by a 4-1 vote with Porter dissenting.

“I for the last two years have been … trying to understand the lack of transparency that has been shown by the board,” Ridings said. “I’m going to open up that transparency a great deal. … There will be transparency 100% of the time. I truly want people to come forward and not lurk in the background.”

The transparency showed as he allowed members of the public who attended the meeting to address the board and ask questions as topics were brought up in addition to during official public comment.

“My main concern is to get our volunteers back to where they were with the power and control they had in the past and with the training they wish to have," Ridings said. "Volunteers are the core and heart of the department and not going to be taken for granted. They should be given No. 1 priority.”

Ridings said he was looking at the next year as a clean slate, saying he would work hard on trusting the EFR administration more after spending his first two years on the board not trusting the current administration.

Porter proposed adding three committees that would be overseen by the board:

  • the Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department Committee that would address volunteer concerns and needs, strengthen community, and address rumors and support recruitment and retention; the Grant Committee that would search for and prioritize grant opportunities, be responsible for grant management and writing, and make recommendations to the Evergreen Fire/Rescue board on priority grants and updates; and
  • the Wildland Planning Committee that would address volunteer concerns and needs, and support recruitment and retention.

Board members said they liked the three ideas but wanted to discuss them further before creating the committees. In response to a question from the audience, they agreed that community members might get involved.

Courim, who in the past served on the Foothills Fire Department board of directors and whose husband was a Foothills firefighter, told the board and the audience that she respected differing opinions and will listen with an open and interested mind. She hoped those who come to the board with concerns will also propose solutions.

Putt said the district was responsible for both top-notch fire response but also preparedness and prevention. He noted that Evergreen has the best firefighting force, and he was looking forward to working with the administration and firefighters.

Ballinger, who was a dispatcher for Evergreen Fire/Rescue before the department joined Jeffcom, said her plan was to learn and listen as much as she could.

 

 

 

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