Fire district chairman resigns; chief gets $20,000 per-year raise

GOLDEN VALLEY - After being absent from the last several meetings, the chairman of the Golden Valley Fire District Board of Directors has resigned.

Marc Glawson had served as chairman, and the board appointed Steve Galner to take his place.

The board met in special session to ask for his resignation in June, but decided against the action.

Glawson attended none of the regular or special sessions after that.

His four-year term was due to expire in November and he did not take out a petition of candidacy, leaving his seat on the board up for grabs.

The fire district's attorney is looking into what requirements are in place regarding a board appointment to fill Glawson's empty seat until after the November elections.

Three candidates are running for the two seats coming open on the board. Glawson held one.

Lucky Anderson is the other board member whose four-year term is expiring, and he's running again.

Anderson is joined by former GVFD Division Chief Neal Bellew and newcomer Marc Frederick.

The board accepted Glawson's letter of resignation on Sept. 13.

In the letter, Glawson stated that he did not feel he was able to fulfill his duties as a board member or chairman at this time.

The district has been plagued with problems in the form of resignations and complaints by former employees since earlier this year.

Division Chief Rudy Barboa said on Sept. 20 the district is focusing on training and a sense of brotherhood among the fire fighters.

The board recently approved what he called sizeable raises in an attempt to halt a pattern of new firefighters being trained at GVFD and then leaving for better-paying jobs elsewhere.

"No one can blame anyone for wanting to improve themselves," Barboa said.

"We realize that these people have families to support, but we hated losing our well-trained people, people we had come to think of as friends, almost like brothers.

"And, they deserved more money.

"Now that we're in a better position than we used to be, we were able to get them the raises they needed."

The board also approved a two-year contract for fire Chief Harold Nystedt that includes a $20,000-plus raise.

The increase brings his annual salary to about $70,000 a year, with 25 vacation or sick days each year.

The contract is retroactive to July 1 this year.

The contract has been under consideration for several months.

The board had stated earlier that Nystedt's salary needed to be raised to provide him with a more livable pension when he retires in a few years.

Nystedt has been with the GVFD for nearly 20 years.

The Golden Valley Fire District Board of Directors meets next at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Station No. 1 on North Mayer Street.

The public is welcome to attend all of the board meetings.