NACFD interviews two for chief, complaints about recent past arise

Wayne Eder

Wayne Eder

KINGMAN – The Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District is a step closer to hiring a permanent fire chief after interviewing two finalists for the job Thursday.

The board went into executive session, which is closed to the public, for interviews of about a half-hour each with Rob Jarvis, who traveled to the meeting from Mesa, and Glenn Brown, who came from Prescott Valley.

A third candidate, Robert Hume, from California, was to be interviewed by phone, but did not answer three calls made to his home.

Board Chairwoman Patti Lewis said no decision will be made on the hiring of a fire chief until further efforts are made to contact the third candidate.

She was disappointed that interim Fire Chief Wayne Eder, hired in a controversial 3-2 vote in April, was not among three finalists selected by the two-man committee of board members Mike Collins and Jim Bailey.

The committee selected finalists from five candidates through a rating system that scored Eder low for his managerial skills.

However, Eder insists that the committee was using misinformation from his previous tenure as NACFD Fire Chief from 2003 to 2008.

Eder said he annexed land for the fire district and that income actually increased from $2 million in fiscal year 2006-2007 to $4.3 million for fiscal 2008-2009.

The budget didn’t drop until 2010-2011, three years after he had resigned from his job. He wrote grants of

$1.2 million that were refused by the board after he left. The district also closed three fire stations and reduced staff by 50 percent.

At Thursday’s board meeting, Eder showed a dirty, oily air filter from one of the fire trucks that was having mechanical problems. Several vehicles were out of service due to years of neglect.

“As we’re digging in, we’re addressing past issues,” Eder told the board. “It’s pretty disappointing this sort of preventative maintenance hadn’t been done.”

Eder said he also had mold removed from one of the fire stations that the previous administration knew about for a year, and replaced mattresses that were moldy and had bed bugs.

He has a noncompliance letter from the fire district’s insurance company.

The board went into executive session to talk about Eder’s application, as three board members wanted to keep him as fire chief, but the board’s attorney said they had to stay with the selection committee’s finalists.

“Three of us want Wayne to stay and two don’t,” Lewis said. “They came when he left. The union put them on there, but they’ve never experienced working with Wayne.

“They weren’t there and just used a lot of gossip. I’ve been on the board for 15 years. Wayne Eder can run circles around (former Fire Chief) Pat Moore.”