At their annual reorganization meeting on Thursday, Feb. 18, directors on the Herald Fire Protection District (HFPD) Board chose to keep leadership the same. Director Lindsey Liebig will continue to chair the board, Director Heidi Braziel will stay second in command as vice chair and George Obi will continue on as clerk. Directors spent most of the meeting going over and approving policy updates.
“Well, I think you’re leading pretty good, so unless somebody wants to make a change, I’m moving to just keep it like we’ve got it,” Director Dennis Johnson said to Liebig.
Nick Besara seconded Johnson’s motion, which was passed with a unanimous vote.
The bulk of the meeting was spent reviewing and approving updates to many policies.
“I want to give an update on where the Policy Committee is at,” Liebig began. “We had a very busy month, meeting consecutively three weeks in a row and went through all of the policies that we have. We have done a complete annual review for all of the policies. The ones that are listed here are the ones that we have suggested amendments to and updates.”
Most policies had minimal updates, mostly to reflect new or updated laws and regulations passed on by the state.
Policies with updates included Discipline, Grievance Procedures, Emergency Vehicle Driver Operator Selection, Department of Motor Vehicles Transcript Evaluation Requirements, Outside Employment, Chain of Command, Firefighter Conduct Expectations, Expense Authorization, and Dress and Grooming.
The Use of Public Buildings policy received a makeover.
“We really cleaned this up to be in line with the requirements for our insurance company,” Liebig said.
The district has three main facilities on its Ivie Road property, the actual fire station, Hendrickson Training Center and the “Barn”.
The training center and barn have been the center of controversy for nearly a decade, as both structures had been used for family, organizations and community functions, with many outside of the area individuals renting the facilities for parties and other functions.
These public uses came under fire in 2012, when the then sitting board tried to raise rental prices, saying that the building upkeep was eating into fire department funds intended for community protection.
Fast forward nine years, many revelations have been flushed out, including that the barn was not up to current fire codes for community event uses and the Hendrickson facility was built with grant funds to be a training facility, not a community center, among other revelations related to insurance use restrictions.
The revised policy reflects updated use limitations for both facilities.
HFPD has priority for use for all district facilities and only certain outside groups will be allowed to use the structures. Those groups include, 4-H, FFA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth-centered organizations, and community service groups, including Herald Community Club and other locally based service organizations. No other outside public events or fundraisers will be allowed.
“[It is] emphasizing no public events or fundraising events allowed, except for youth center organizations and community service groups, including Herald Community Club, and other local based service organizations that are listed. Those others would include groups like Strong As Steele, blood drives, so those things,” Liebig said.”
No alcohol can be consumed or sold on district property.
“Also it was added that there’s no alcohol consumed on district property, which is in line with what our insurance is wanting us to have,” Liebig said.
Outside groups that are allowed to use the facilities will be required to clean after their use and will be required to have liability insurance for their activity.
Those using Hendrickson Training Center will not be allowed to cook in the building, and those using the barn will be limited to agricultural or “barn type” events; however, no public events or fundraisers are allowed in the barn.