Regional fire chiefs' efforts to manage costs pays off | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Regional fire chiefs' efforts to manage costs pays off

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen's fire departments formed a society and met to discuss their initiatives with regional district board members in July.
September 13, 2018 - 3:41 PM

PENTICTON - An initiative from fire chiefs in the region to maintain local control over their fire departments and help manage costs appears to be working with the recent elimination of a full time position at the regional district.

The fire service coordinator position at Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, recently held by Brandy Maslowski, has been eliminated following the repeal of the Fire Services Regulatory Bylaw earlier this year, says chief administrative officer Bill Newell.

“With each fire department reverting back to the individual control of each chief, there was no longer a position for the Fire Services Coordinator,” Newell says in an email.

Oversight of six of the district’s seven fire departments reverted back to the board following rescindment of the bylaw in April.

An inability by regional district staff to include chiefs in the decision making process, and widely divergent views on fire department personnel’s relationship to the district — whether volunteer or paid staffers — resulted in the motion to repeal a bylaw that centralized administration of the district’s seven departments.

At a presentation to the board in July, several regional fire chiefs described their work to create a new fire association with a promise to organize themselves, initiate mandatory training programs and reduce firefighting costs to the taxpayer.

Maslowski was kept busy with the regional district working in the emergency operations centre through the summer, but that has since come to an end, Newell says.

She was hired just over a year ago in August 2017, replacing emergency operations manager Dale Kronebusch, who made $75,840 in his last full year with the regional district in 2016.

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