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Penn Valley Fire Chief to help neighboring Consolidated Fire


By: YubaNet

Penn Valley Chief Gene Vander Plaats
NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 8, 2013 - Nevada County Consolidated Fire District's board last night voted unanimously to have Penn Valley Fire Chief Gene Vander Plaats fill the postion of Interim Chief for NCCFD during Acting Chief's David Ray's upcoming vacation.

Chairman Keith Grueneberg was poised to volunteer his services as Interim Chief. His idea of taking over as Interim Chief during Ray's one-week absence was prompted by the need to have contingency plans in place and by the fact that the district's two Battalion Chiefs are still in their probationary period, Grueneberg said. In prior years, the district had several senior Battalion Chiefs on hand to fill in during a Chief's absence, he continued.

"In all that confusion, I offered to come in a couple of hours a day and serve in that rank. But now that I've regained my senses, and after a 38-year career - with 18 years of those as a Fire Chief - I don't know what I was thinking," Grueneberg joked, with the audience chuckling.

He stated the two functions are incompatible, since he would basically be reporting to himself and said he was rescinding his offer. Turning to board member David Hanson, with whom he had met prior to the meeting, he invited Hanson to present his alternative.

Hanson said he had contacted Penn Valley Fire Chief Gene Vander Plaats and asked him if he'd be wiling to come in. Vander Plaats said he absolutely would and suggested the two district boards draft an agreement between themselves.

"Gene said he's looking forward to the challenges," Hanson added. After some discussion, the board voted unanimously to appoint David Hanson and one other board member to work out a contract between the two districts.

Penn Valley Fire just held their regular monthly board meeting this Tuesday. Vander Plaats told YubaNet this morning he has contacted one of his board members who will in all likelihood call a special meeting next week to draft and vote on an agreement between districts.

"We're happy to help out our neighbors, we just have to make sure Penn Valley Fire has all the coverage and manpower we need," Vander Plaats said. He is amenable to function as Interim Chief as needed, including after the retirement of Chief Ray in May, if NCCFD has not hired a new Chief by then.

In other business, the NCCFD board approved extending the hours of their newly-hired finance assistant to 40 hours a week until June. The board also approved sending a letter to LAFCo in support of an annexation proposal by Nevada City of four parcels located on Grove Street into their fire protection zone.

Related articles:

Powergrab at NCCFD?


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