Fire District #3 Chief on paid leave

At the conclusion of a brief executive session Feb. 9, the board of directors of Jackson County Fire District #3 voted unanimously to place Fire Chief Dave Hard on paid administrative leave pending an analysis by ECSI (Emergency Services Consulting, Inc.)

This was the fourth executive session held by the board since Jan. 21 under ORS 192.660 (2) (i) to review and evaluate the job performance of Chief Hard. On Jan. 25, in addition to the job evaluation, the executive session included (2) (b) to consider the dismissal or disciplining of a public officer or to hear complaints or charges brought against a public officer. Chief Hard had the option of an open hearing during the evaluation process. He did not request one.

The notice for the Feb. 9 meeting printed in the Mail Tribune on Sunday, Feb. 7 was received by the Independent at 5:12 p.m. Friday,  Feb. 5. The special meeting agenda was as follows:
•Executive session under the ORS 192.660 (2) (a) Employment of Public Officers, Employees and Agents
•Reconvening session
•Audience response
•Interim fire chief
•Managerial assessment contract proposals
•Resolution authorizing 2010-11 fiscal year funds & financial polices
• Board Comments

On  Feb. 8 at 4:15 p.m. that same agenda was again received  by the Independent for the Feb. 9 meeting.

Just prior to  the 5:15 p.m. Feb. 9 executive session, a member of the audience asked if the reporter  had the latest version of the agenda. The agenda was changed to read as follows:       
•Executive session under the ORS 192.660 (2) (a) Employment of Public Officers, Employees and Agents
•Convene regular session
• Audience response
•New Business- Managerial assessment contract proposals-Board will discuss the continuing negotiations with Emergency Services Consulting, Inc. (ESCI)
• Board comments

Following the executive session, Wilson asked for audience comments. There were none.

There was no discussion on the ESCI negotiation other than that Wilson said the board asked Hard to be on administrative leave until the assessment had been completed.

It was noted that the above item was not on the evening agenda. It was added and a motion was made by Jim Gillin to place Chief Dave Hard on administrative leave and to place Greg Winfrey as the interim chief pending a full review and report to the board of directors of the ESDI assessment.

Wilson said the assessment should be complete in time for the regular March board of directors meeting. She said the group would interview staff, Chief Hard, board members past and present as well as community members.

Winfrey has 36 years in the fire business, starting as a volunteer in the City of Central Point in 1974. He became a paid fireman in 1977 and in 1981 he went to Rogue River where he became fire chief. He has been with Fire District #3 for 4 ½ years. Most recently he has been interim operations chief. Prior to that he has been Battalion Chief. “I am looking forward to serving the district to get them through this and to get things moving forward,” said Interim Chief Winfrey.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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