Letter to the Editor: Fire board chairman responds to Marshall Cook letter

Dear Editor:
I would like to take a little time to respond to Marshall Cook’s letter in last week’s paper.

I am doing this to give you, the taxpayer, another point a view. I am not up for re-election, so, like Marshall, I feel I can be frank. However, unlike Marshall, I will try to keep this short.
Every meeting we have is open to the public. Every decision, budget item and policy is available to you.
At the first special district forum, the fire board was the only district board with all board members in attendance. We have nothing to hide and in fact we are proud of how we handle your money.
The transition to full-time chief is a first for the district and the board, so we knew there would be growing pains. I feel the fact that we are moving in that direction shows we do not have the attitude “if it’s not broke don’t fix it,” as suggested by the editor.
We have good equipment and training, but it’s the volunteers who make our organization exceptional. Fire, EMS, board member or administrator, we all come from different backgrounds with our own points of view, but when the pagers go off we are a team that will do anything we can to protect every person and property in this fire district.
When Marshall resigned, I asked him to give the board some feedback so his replacement might be more successful. I did this because after numerous visits to his office I felt we had developed a friendship, and I thought it would be good for the district going forward.
I was disappointed, to say the least, to read it in the paper. Part of me wants to rebut every single concern he has with a little colorful language, but I will just respond to a few.
Marshall was hired as chief to run this organization as he saw fit. Yes, the board gave him multiple ideas as to how we felt the new job should go, but we relied on his expertise to move us forward.
The board is made up of business owners, ex-cops and firefighters, EMTs and an RN. None of us has been a full-time paid chief, and when Marshall complains that it took nine months to get a job description, he is forgetting to tell you he wrote it. I should be mad it took so long!
Marshall states that repairing an old fire truck is a waste of money and yet he told us it needed to be fixed to keep our ISO rating up. We decided to spend $14,260 to keep our existing truck in good shape rather than spending $450,000 for a new one. He complains about his integrity being questioned knowing that the $25,000 figure he put in the paper is false.
Speaking of money, if we are going to give preferential treatment to whose property is worth the most or who pays the most in tax revenue, then we should move the fire house to Piceance Creek because oil and gas contributes over 80 percent of our revenue.
We can park trucks all over our county but who is going to maintain and staff them? We respond quickly and efficiently to all alarms whether your house is worth $50,000 or $50 million.
NIMS compliant, Haz Mat response? I don’t recall this being a priority or even having been brought up, and now it’s in the paper like the Evil Board just shot down all your ideas. Give me a break. If you truly just wanted to better the district, you would have drawn from your 30 years of experience, all of which was from one place, and led the volunteers and the board forward instead of trying to stir up controversy in a department you gave up on.
I feel my trust was betrayed and Marshall’s letter is one sided and misleading.
I wasn’t going to get into the politics coming up, but I hope you support our current board and allow us to move forward with a new chief.
I also hope Marshall will find success being a liaison for the Department of Public Health. I am sure there are volumes of policies, procedures and a comprehensive job description that will guide him.
Wade Bradfield
Chairman
Meeker Fire Board
Meeker