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Officials want vote in Brodhead fire chief contract

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GINA R. HEINE
July 8, 2011
— The Brodhead Rural Fire Association pays 40 percent of its fire chief’s salary, but it has no voting power in deciding who holds the position.

Members of the association want to change that.


The association will meet Monday night with the Brodhead City Council to discuss the intergovernmental agreement.


“Right now we have no say as to what happens with the fire chief,” said Avon Town Chairman Michael Moore, also the vice chairman of the association and a member of the fire department’s oversight committee. “We just get to donate 40 percent of his salary … and we have no voting input.”


The association’s five-year intergovernmental agreement with the city expires at the end of the year, but members gave the city the required six-month notice that they would not renew the contract as-is, Moore said.


The association also is seeking a two-year contract, he said.


The Brodhead Rural Fire Association represents the Brodhead Fire Department’s coverage outside of the city. Town officials from Avon, Spring Valley and Magnolia in Rock County and Decatur and Spring Grove in Green County are in the association.


Alderman Phil Rundle, who chairs the fire oversight committee, and Alderwoman Shelly Kuhl, who chairs the personnel committee, said they couldn’t comment on the association’s requests.


“It’s still one of the points we’re discussing in closed session,” she said.


City committees have been meeting in closed session to discuss the deal along with a new contract for Chief Jay Bohan, whose contract expires at the end of the month. The fire oversight committee met in closed session Thursday to discuss the chief’s contract and the intergovernmental agreement.


Renewal of the fire chief’s annual contract was a contentious issue last year when some firefighters raised concerns to city officials about Bohan’s performance as the city’s first full-time chief.


A consultant was hired to sort through the issues, but the consultant’s report didn’t directly address concerns raised by firefighters.


Two committees last year unanimously recommended against rehiring Bohan, but the city council voted, 5-0, last July to renew his contract until July 27, 2011.


Since then, the fire oversight committee was formed and worked with Bohan and department trustees to write standard operating procedures, guidelines and job descriptions.


The fire oversight committee made a recommendation on the contract in closed session last week, but Rundle said he could not release it and referred a reporter to the city attorney.


Attorney Mark Schroeder said he did not know what the recommendation is.


The personnel committee will meet in closed session tonight to consider the recommendation and make its own recommendation to forward to the city council. The council then will meet in closed session Monday to possibly finalize the issue, Rundle said.



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