By Meg Upton
Ten volunteer firefighters showed up early in the meeting to question why IVCSD, acting as the fiduciary receiving funds from the state earmarked to pay the volunteers had not, in the firefighters’ estimation, paid them yet — or in a timely manner.
“It’s typical not to be paid until the incident closes,” said one firefighter not willing to give his name who spoke outside after the meeting, “but it’s time and those funds are ours.”
Directors were in agreement that the firefighters needed to be paid as soon as possible and are expected to pay volunteer firefighters who worked on the North Complex fire.
“It’s important that we get people money right now,” said Director Lee Anne Schramel.
Fire Chief Tony Balbiani gave his monthly report in person and stressed the need for Internet access at fire stations in Indian Valley for both training and the ability to communicate in areas with spotty cell phone and other communication coverage. Directors discussed what inexpensive options are available to fill the need. Currently the water plant and district office have Internet access but not the stations.
The main issue that seemed to reoccur throughout the agenda and the evening was the now retired general manager Chris Gallagher’s funding priorities versus the priorities in spending of the IVCSD directors. For example, Gallagher had wanted to replace office computers, but the current ones are barely five years old. The replacement is now tabled except for a new and needed monitor.
Firefighters had accused the former manager of withholding their payment, (outside of the meeting).
The board members of the IVCSD are continuing to divvy up the responsibilities of management of the IVCSD in the absence of a general manager among themselves according to which sub-committees they sit on currently, and who would have the best knowledge of issues pertaining to that management.
There is active recruitment underway for a new general manager.
The IVCSD is re-opening the district office to the general public with one member of the public allowed in at a time while masked for COVID19 protocol, (currently two employees occupy the office at any given time).
Other less contentious items included a discussion of shutting down the parks early since there is only one field employee at this time and board director Wayne Dannemiller indicating that the county is ready to transfer the Greenville Town Hall to the IVCSD.
Toward the end of the meeting Dannemiller presented a plaque to IVCSD employee Don Silva for 15 years of service to the district. He is currently the only employee actively in the field working on a multitude of projects that need completion by more than one person, (according to both Silva and the directors).