Dave Runkel, Ashland Citizen, Weighs in on the Fire Chief Debacle!

An apology is due Ashland citizens

In Allayanna Darrow’s article in the online Tidings edition Friday, it was reported that the Stromberg administration walked away from discussions on hiring a new city fire chief in coordination with the Talent-based Fire District 5 and then opened discussions with Fire District 3 of Central Point.

While the whole concept of joint management of the Ashland Fire and Rescue Department with an independent fire district may deserve consideration, it would make much more sense for Ashland to coordinate with the adjoining fire district than one based 20 miles away.

The history of the city discussions with districts 3 and 5 are murky, but acting City Administrator Adam Hanks apparently was incorrect in telling the council that District 5 shut down the discussions. “Director Vicki Purslow said she felt ‘blindsided’ by the apparent dropping of District 5 from consideration of joint fire chief services,” Darrow reported.

Who on the council was aware of what Stromberg and Hanks were up to and why? Why has the public been misled? What’s the rush?

Tuesday’s council agenda includes discussion of Councilor Stephen Jensen’s proposed letter of apology to the firefighters’ union and District 3 leaders over the decision of the Klamath County Emergency Services director to decline becoming Ashland fire chief under an inter-government agreement with District 3.

The apology should be to the citizens of Ashland who have been not been fully consulted, indeed misled, about the filling of the fire chief’s position. Kudos to the Tidings for covering this critical issue.

David Runkel