City in talks with NACFD for management proposal
KINGMAN – City Manager Ron Foggin provided Council and the public with a brief update regarding the City of Kingman management services proposal with the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Chief Rhoades and I were approached and asked to provide some information for our fire district folks as they were looking at leadership models they may be able to explore,” Foggin said, later adding, “ … it certainly was not our idea.”
In exchange for fire management services, the City of Kingman asks for $150,000 annually for at least a two years, which would get the relationship off the ground, according to the City’s proposal.
The Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District Board of Directors decided to move forward with contract negotiations for City of Kingman management services at its meeting Jan. 24. That vote was unanimous.
“This is not a City of Kingman takeover of our fire district,” said NACFD Director Jim Bailey at the meeting “First of all, it’s just a proposal for management. So it’s nothing basically but the chief coming out here to oversee.”
Those in attendance at the meeting weren’t thrilled about the idea, as they wanted more information about the proposal and were concerned about what it would mean for their level of service. Those concerns were also relayed at the Council meeting.
Kingman Fire Department Chief Jake Rhoades provided some background on the matter. He said that after NACFD completed its search for its most recent fire chief, he was contacted by the “facilitator” of that process.
“I believe she was speaking to their board. They contacted me with this concept and idea,” Rhoades said.
The chief said if the agreement comes to fruition, he would be the chief of both KFD and NACFD. However, he would still report to the NACFD board. The fire district would retain its own personnel.
“Two political entities, separate,” Rhoades said. “We’re talking about the management piece of this. By that, I would answer to their board and bring those issues to them on that side.”
He said if there were legal issues, he couldn’t go to the City attorney for NACFD problems.
“These models work because there’s a win-win for both organizations,” Foggin said. “That is the only reason for us to even consider having these conversations, is what ends up being that win-win.”
He said the leadership model makes a lot of sense due to the interaction between the two fire entities regarding response areas and mutual aid.
Vice Mayor Travis Lingenfelter said he doesn’t think it’s the right fit because Kingman would be going from having a fire chief to half a fire chief.
‘I don’t look at it as a 50/50 split,” Foggin said. “I look at it as could Jake and his team provide the leadership necessary to move the two organizations forward, and I think there’s capacity within our organization to do that.”
Councilwoman Deana Nelson was onboard with the idea.
“I think one of the things that we need to as Council consider on this is we now have one of the biggest chunks of land in our airport, and we really do want our guys out there with that,” she said.
Lingenfelter asked if this was the first step in creating an area-wide fire district.
“It’s not been something that’s been discussed as a strategic plan. I know we’ve had conversations with regards to citizens and individual Council members that have asked the question … and the answer to that is this could be one of those steps into a much longer, deeper relationship that ultimately creates a larger district,” Foggin said.