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Beaver Creek eNews

January 27, 2016

Letter to the Editor in Response to Bugle Article

"Fire districts consider forming 'new body'
Montezuma-Rimrock, Camp Verde consider agreement to create joint-fire board"
Please allow me to extend an apology to those who were offended by the recent Bugle article that portrayed the suggested JPA between MRFD and CVFD as a "done deal". This portrayal in the paper was very misleading and we have already sought a published "correction" by the Bugle to set the record straight.

I understand the main point of frustration is that I have not sought council with the various civic groups in the area to solicit opinions as to the pros or cons of some form of more permanent connection between the two fire districts. I will own this failure to a point, but in my defense I would like to offer the following explanation:

Formally my "bosses" are the board members of both districts. While the concept of a more formal arrangement between MRFD and CVFD has been discussed in small circles and as a concept individually with some board members or with staff, it has never been discussed as an agenda item during either district's public board meetings. In fact, the agenda item discussed last week with both boards was whether to hold a joint board retreat or workshop to discuss the matter formally for the first time. I am sure most can appreciate that while the public has keen interest in this issue, I must walk a very thin line between being subordinate to my "bosses" by not going behind their backs to garner support or simply share a concept or information before the topic is discussed with the boards themselves to get their questions asked and answered. I feel a strong duty to first discuss issues with my superiors before discussing it with the public. This also needs to be done under the statutes of open meeting laws as I do not desire to jeopardize the reputations of any board members or myself by violating the law. Everything has to be done in transparency, which is what I feel we are trying to do.

What was approved by both boards last week was to agree to hold such a retreat or workshop to begin this dialogue more formally and publically. It is unfortunate this is not what was portrayed by the newspaper. I am sure many would further agree that it would be pointless to seek approval from the community before the boards themselves had a chance to approve to meet to discuss the concept. If the boards did not desire to move forward, there would have been no sense in stirring-up public discussion about a concept that was going to go nowhere.

I assure you and all the community members that if, after the boards have heard the information jointly at the workshop and decide to place the topic on a future agenda, we will conduct community outreach to explain the next steps and to seek community input into the plan.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and for allowing me to set the record straight. Rest assured I am not trying to pull off some clandestine operation, but rather, simply trying to stay on the right side of my bosses and the law.


Terry Keller
Fire Chief
Montezuma Rimrock Fire District
(928) 567-7428 Office
(928) 300-1263 Cell
9928) 567-4743 Fax
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