Milton Joint Fire Commission taps Zajac as new chairman

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Jim Dayton
Thursday, May 18, 2017

MILTON—The Milton Joint Fire Commission unanimously appointed Jeremy Zajac as its new chairman Wednesday and tasked him with overseeing a major transition period for the fire department.

Zajac, a Milton City Council member, replaces Bryan Meyer. Meyer serves on the Milton Town Board, and his yearlong tenure as fire commission chairman ended last month.

The Milton Fire Department is in the midst of a significant overhaul.

Last month, consultant RW Management outlined possible recommendations to help the department, which has struggled with budget and staffing issues like many other volunteer fire departments.

One of RW Management's proposals is to consolidate some of Milton's fire administration with Janesville's.

Details of how that would work still need to be finalized if the department chooses to go that route.

“We have a lot on our plate right now,” Zajac said Wednesday. “There's so much gray right now, but it's all out on the table."

Zajac wants the commission to explore the proposals further and see which ones are doable. The panel first need to figure out bylaws before moving onto capital projects, such as building a new fire station between Milton and Janesville.

The fire commission originally planned to discuss many of the proposals at Wednesday's meeting. But scheduling conflicts prevented some fire department personnel from attending, including interim Milton Fire Chief Chris Lukas.

The commission tabled those agenda items until the June 21 meeting, when more key players could attend. 

Additional fire department discussions likely will take place June 14 at a joint municipality meeting between Milton town and city officials. Those two meetings will yield more substantive progress on fire department issues, Zajac said.

“The idea here is to provide a good service to the community. All the people involved have that goal,” he said. “There's no other agenda except that goal.

“It's just now, what can we do fiscally responsibly and procedurally to get to that point?”

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