At the board of directors meeting on August 11th, 2021, the board of the Nederland Fire Protection District voted 3-2 (Iain Irwin-Powell – Y, Todd Wieseler – Y, Henry Zurbrugg - N, Ray Willis – N, Guy Falsetti – Y) to terminate the employment of Fire Chief Rick Dirr after a vote of no-confidence that passed 4-1 (Iain Irwin-Powell – Y, Todd Wieseler – Y, Henry Zurbrugg - N, Ray Willis – Y, Guy Falsetti – Y).
This decision was not taken lightly. The department has been in turmoil for many years and in the last year 75% of senior staff have departed along with several very experienced volunteers. The department needs to change direction and become, first and foremost, the department in which volunteers wish to serve and, secondly, the department that this district deserves. It is the opinion of those who voted to remove the Chief that this cannot happen under the current leadership.
Your fire department consists of many dedicated people who desire change, a culture of safety and modernization in the techniques employed in fire prevention and suppression. We believe that this change will allow that to happen.
Shortly the board will produce short and long-term goals and a future vision for the department. This is vital to ensure that our staff and volunteers, and the community have a clear idea of what we are and what we represent.
In the next week the board will be doing several things. We will be investigating appointing an interim Chief and will start a national search for a new Chief. We expect the process of finding a new Chief will take 3-6 months. We intend to fill our open shift position shortly to bring us up to full operational strength.
Nederland Fire can move forward and become the center of excellence of that we believe it can be and in that move we can encourage people not to only be the best that they can be but, actually, be better than they ever believed they could be.
We appreciate that wildland fire season will present another set of challenges along with our usual emergency services workload and we have complete confidence that our staff and volunteers are completely capable of managing any incidents.
Rick Dirr has been the fire chief in Nederland for 22 years. We thank Chief Dirr for his many years of service in the department and wish him well in his future.
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