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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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8/21/2013 6:01:00 AM
CYFD board refuses fire chief's resignation
Patrick Whitehurst
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Central Yavapai Fire District (CYFD) Governing Board on Tuesday declined to accept the resignation of Fire Chief Paul Nies.

The board discussed his proposed resignation during an executive session but wouldn't elaborate on the details of the chief's proposed resignation.

Board members last discussed the chief in May following an employee evaluation. Two of the board's five members, Debbie Horton and Chairman Steve Rutherford, rated the chief's performance poorly at the time, basing their decision on criteria that included lack of a strategic plan and Nies's community profile.

All but Horton voted to approve Board Member Bob Gardiner's motion not to accept the resignation. Rutherford said the matter would go to legal counsel for further discussion.

Several members of the public, some volunteers and current CYFD employees attended the meeting to voice their support for Nies.

Patty Brookins said she was both "humbled and honored" to be an employee of the Central Yavapai Fire District and spoke in Niese's defense.

CYFD Captain Dave Tharp said problems should be identified clearly before changes are made, particularly when it comes to Nies.

"I could go on for 20 minutes about all the great things he's done," Tharp said. "The concern is what is he not doing? I'm asking you to please give consideration to re-evaluating the plan, giving him the time and the opportunity to show you that he can do the job."

The board also voted to continue talks related to a proposed regional communications center, which they also discussed in executive session. The board made no decision on the communications center during the meeting.

The Tuesday afternoon meeting was the first to take place at the Prescott Valley Library. Also discussed were a mid-year district alarm summary, presented by Assistant Chief of Operations Scott Bliss. Bliss briefed the board on the CYFD wildland fire program and the importance of training firefighters in both structure and wildland fires in areas where homes abut the forest.

Other items included a badge-pinning ceremony for newly promoted CYFD engineers and district captains.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: Bobby Fields

Shouldn't the article discuss the reasons given for Chief Nies' resignation? The article states the details of his proposed resignation weren't discussed: well, why not, fire board? You were willing to publicly discuss his performance, why won't you publicly discuss his stated reasons for wanting to resign?

From all I've heard about Chief Nies, coming from people who understand the fire profession, he has a top-down focus. Chief Nies is serving the community, and supporting his staff and firefighters. Perhaps the board members need to consider that his only responsibility isn't to them, and purely what THEY perceive needs to be done within CYFD and the communities the fire district serves, but what the guys running the calls think, and what we as citizens think.

Chief Nies, I hope that the board learns from this experience and takes it to heart for the good of the department and the affected communities, no matter what the outcome is for you. You and your department are in my family's prayers.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: @District Resident from District Resident

I know a helluva lot more than you think. To call me an uneducated citizen is ignorant of you. You have no idea who I am or the level of my knowledge of that agency. Good for you if you know him personally. He may be a great person as a friend, but that does not make a person a great leader. I disagree with YOUR opinion on the track record and the previous chiefs comment just like you disagree with mine. We all have the right to our opinions which includes yours, mine, and anyone else. If the man wants to resign, he should be allowed to. If he wants to stay, then there are things that need to change. Don't play the "people will die card" and "firefighters will lose jobs" card. CYFD has gone through some major changes in the last 30 years. They try to play like they are big fish in a small pond. The reality is the ride from 9/11 is over people want answers as to why their taxes go up when there is a "surplus of money" available to fund a communications center. People want to know why a business cannot compete here because the tax levy is too high for them to stay here. People want answers and truths, not run around which is what has been given.
Regardless of what people think about PRCC, the fact remains that a dispatch center can only pass on the information that is provided. Because of human interaction there will be mistakes made, no one is perfect. Chief Nies is not perfect, I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. However when you are in the public eye, your mistakes are bigger than life itself and when you have to answer to tax payers, you have a responsibility to do what is right and in the best interest of the public. Putting people in a paranoid state is not good nor responsible. Good day to you and I look forward to your Christmas card and you telling me I am uneducated again.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Good Citizen

It appears that the new CYFD board member is voting "present" which is what Obama did almost the entire time he was in the Illinois Senate. Now he is President and pretty much still just "present".

And for those of you who continue to blame "Fain" after all that family has done for PV should be ashamed! They may not always be successful, but at least they are trying to make our area a better place -- not just sitting at home "blogging".

And Rutherford & Horton are asking the tough questions and expecting honest answers which never happened with the 'old' board who just 'passed through' everything.

If this Chief wants to resign, he needs to go.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Tom's Nemesis

I find it funny that they are already doing their secret executive sessions now that TS is on the board. Tom who always "claimed" to be against executive sessions is singing a different tune now I see! Of course now he has his own agenda to push. Time for you to leave the public eye Tom. Go back to blogging lies and innuendo about good people from the anonymity of your computer.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Mickey T.

Cut 'em lose!

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: @District Resident

Track record? And what would you know about that? Only lies and misinformation like anyone else who has ever spoken out about the Chief. Another uneducated citizen that most likely does not even know the man personally.
This man is far and above the previous chief and asst chief that no longer work here, that is for certain.
We will all now continue to see what a mistake it was for anyone to fall for the campaign commercials funded by Fain. Rutherford and Horton are an absolute disgrace to public office, but their $25k campaign effort bought them seats. The overwhelming majority of CYFD employees are absolutely sick over how this good man has been treated by these 2. Hopefully some truths come out to the public so you who voted for them can see what a HUGE mistake you made last November?
I smell a RECALL!!

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: District Resident

So if the guy wants to tuck tail and run, let him do so. Keeping a problem around, especially when they do not want to be here is an issue in itself. His track record has been proven in his stay with CYFD and it most likely will continue. Let the man go if he wants to.

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Gavin

Less than a week ago the story was about how classes to be a fireman are full to capacity, and today it's about a guy that can't resign, all this while every bookkeeper in the county seems to be on vacation.

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