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Board will begin effort to fill two director vacancies; will defer action on key items until then

 

KINGMAN – There was a changing of the guard at Thursday's board of directors meeting of the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District.

Jim Bailey began serving as chairman when now-former Chairwoman Patti Lewis passed him the gavel at the start of the meeting.

 

It had been Bailey's position that he had been elected during votes cast at two previous meetings.

There was a dispute over the impact that abstentions and "nays" cast during those votes had on the outcome, and whether a unanimous vote was required to elect a chairperson.

Lewis said the questions and impasse were resolved through a determination that 1999 board policy applied because another policy formulated in 2012 was never formally adopted. 

Bailey told the audience he was going to change the way the meetings are conducted with respect to public participation. Under Lewis' leadership, board meetings sometimes devolved into town halls with audience members participating in the discussion of business items.

Bailey said going forward, public involvement in board business would be restricted, except for budget hearings and for the Call to the Public at the end of meetings.

The board decided it would likely begin soliciting letters of interest to fill two vacant board seats following a special board meeting April 5. Notice of the vacancies and invitation to express interest in the positions will be advertised in a newspaper and posted on the district website, at fire stations and other public places.

The board agreed that action on several agenda items should be deferred until new board members are seated, including hiring new legal counsel for the district.

Chief Wayne Eder offered information that seemingly resolved a disagreement with Director Mike Collins regarding whether projected revenue and expenditures would result in a budget deficit by the end of the current fiscal year.

Eder said he and an accountant discovered a $200,000 glitch that explained the disparate budget analysis.

Accounting software QuickBooks was showing a recurring monthly expense in the personnel area that wasn't being spent, so there was a $200,000 error in the reporting in QuickBooks, Eder explained.

“Comments have been made that I'm going to be $400,000 over budget, but according to our accountant I'm not going to be over budget this year,” he said.

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