August 20, 2014

CALL TO ORDER @ 7:00 pm

ROLL CALL           x Mr. Anderson                     x Mr. Takacs          x Chief Lutz

- Mr. Frager (personal business) x Mr. Vest           x Mr. Long

x Mr. Gauntner                     x Mr. Wayman     x Mr. Szeman

PLEDGE OF ALLIGENCE

MADISON HIGH SENIOR PROJECT: Chief Lutz introduced Bethany Hess who did her senior project here at the District. Bethany thanked everyone, especially “A” shift, for their support during the 5 weeks she was here. She will be starting an EMT program at Lakeland next week. Bethany presented a plaque to Lt. Tod Baker in appreciation.

MINUTES:                                                                                                                         

Minutes of 07/14/14 Regular Session

Motion to approve as presented by: Mr. Anderson    Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner

ROLL CALL: (4) Ayes; (1) Abstain (Wayman)

BILLS & PAYROLL

Bills ($187,765.35) and payroll ($160,737.14) totaling $348,502.49 are motioned for acceptance and payment. Mr. Long, CFO, detailed several expenditures. Per the Fire Board’s July 14th request, Mr. Long handed out a detailed recap (2011-2014) of all costs associated with the construction of St. #3.

Mr. Takacs thanked Mr. Long for the St. #3 Building Recap and asked about the Sprint and Verizon cellular service. Chief Lutz explained that Sprint services the 12-lead LifePaks for communicating with the hospitals, and Verizon services cell phones for the chief and the squads. Mr. Takacs also asked if the Windstream service was billed separately by station or as a lump sum for the District. Mr. Long reported that each station is tracked separately. Mr. Takacs asked if all expenditures are tracked by station and if a report could be generated to show total costs for each station. Mr. Long answered that the computer cannot generate that kind of detailed report, but a manual report could easily be generated.

Motion to approve bills and payroll as presented by: Mr. Wayman

Seconded by: Mr. Takacs                                       ROLL CALL:   All ayes

OPENING PUBLIC PORTION:None to report.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:Mr. Takacs suggested that the committee (Takacs, Gauntner, Lutz) formed a few weeks ago to research possible issues with the old St. #3 (Ross & 528) has completed their work and should be disbanded as no further action is required. All board members agreed.

OLD BUSINESS: Mr. Vest reported that special counsel is required to represent the Madison Fire District with respect to the Station #1 negotiations with Madison Village. He suggested that the board formally appoint Mr. Gary Pasqualone as special counsel for this one circumstance and compensate him at his normal rate.

Mr. Takacs stated that Mr. Szeman is the appointed counsel for the District and that we are requesting special counsel for this one issue. Since it is not a permanent position, he asked why this special counsel cannot be handled like any other contract. Mr. Szeman explained that only the Fire Board can appoint legal counsel for the Fire District and it would be best to memorialize the appointment of outside counsel for the St. #1 negotiations. Mr. Szeman further explained that he is still inside counsel for the District, but due to a conflict of interest issue as legal counsel for Madison Village, the District will need to secure outside counsel for these negotiations.

Pursuant to discussions held in Executive Session on March 19, 2014 regarding the need for special counsel for the Station #1 negotiations, Mr. Gauntner moved that the board appoint Mr. Gary Pasqualone as special counsel for the Fire District at his normal rate. Chief Lutz agreed to contact Mr. Pasqualone and finalize the hourly rate detail.

Motion by: Mr. Gauntner             Seconded by: Mr. Anderson         ROLL CALL: All ayes

NEW BUSINESS: None to Report

CHIEF’S REPORT – Chief Gene Lutz:                                            

Inspection Report: In board folders.                                                                                                                                           

2014 Runs: Chief Lutz detailed recent run activity and reported year-to-date totals:

2014 – 2,594              2013 – 2,516               2012 – 2,585

District Vehicles: Chief Lutz reported on the following vehicle maintenance:

#2112  Motor pulled and re-worked (head gasket – Ford Issue)

#2132 Motor pulled and re-worked (head gasket – Ford Issue)

#2142 Turbo pulled and cleaned

State Fire Marshall Grant: Chief Lutz advised the board that Madison Fire District, Lake County, Geauga County and Ashtabula County have applied jointly for a $50,000 grant from the State Fire Marshall’s Office for Multi Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) to improve communication between departments using different radio systems.

Fire Training: Crews have been training for the last 3-4 weeks to prepare for the August 23rd training burn of the elementary school on North Ridge Road. Perry Fire, Geneva Fire, Leroy Fire and Harpersfield Fire will also attend. All spectators are welcome.

St. #3 Punch List: Chief Lutz reported that the water pressure issue in the front section of St.#3 has been resolved– running 1,200 gallons/minute. Although a leak was located and repaired in the 2” line, the water pressure in the back dorm, locker room and kitchen areas is still too low. All calculations have been re-checked and APP Architecture continues to work on the problem (under warranty).

Statement for the Record – Chief Gene Lutz: “I have not talked about this in the public and have chosen to “let it go” until now. A few months ago, I was approached by the Village Mayor about St. #1. In an effort to help out the Village, I participated in dialogue regarding the Village’s desire to take over St. #1 to be used to house the Police Department. Since then, the Fire District has been negatively talked about at Village meetings and I have been questioned by numerous people whom I have met over the past few weeks asking why I am having a tussle with the Village. There never was any tussle. It seems a couple of people didn’t see it that way. I have seen comments made on tweets, an example being the “nasty gram” about Mr. Pasqualone, which I consider to be unprofessional. Our position was and is that the Village approached us, we made a deal, and now they need to stick with it. Our position is if they don’t, we’re going to come after you. It is only fair. The tax money that was paid to build the training center should not go to the Village for free. That money came from our Capital Improvements funds, not from EMS or Transfer funds. That money was paid through levies from the residents of Madison. 80% of the money came from the Township and only 20% from the Village. Anything done at the new Station #3 came out of loan money, not EMS. EMS funds take care of wages, and EMS equipment needed. The levy money goes into the capital fund and for wages. Additionally, why are these 2 Village officials not coming directly to me with their questions and comments? I am in the District Office every day, Monday through Friday. Neither of them have approached me to talk about it. I am very disappointed in both of them. I am the Fire Chief, hired to do the job, so why don’t they come and talk to me about it? Why bring it out in Village meetings, grand-stand it, get it out into the public and make us the whipping post for the last months. Let it be known that I am tired of it. I have not come to the Village meetings to voice my opinion because I don’t think it is right to do that, but I think if they have a problem with me, they should bring it here and debate it. If they want to cross examine me, go ahead, I’ve dealt with lawyers before. I’ve done fire investigations, been put on the witness stand and I am not afraid of anything – bring it! When you talk about the Fire District, I am going to defend it. It’s my department – don’t mess with it. Things were running just fine and we don’t need any problems.”

Mr. Vest thanked Chief Lutz for his “well overdue” comments and for clarification of the situation. He remarked that the Village has tried many times, without success, to remind a couple of their councilmen that all necessary cross examination will only be conducted by the Madison Village Legal Counsel. Mr. Anderson voiced his agreement.

Kathy Lynn, 209 W. Main Street, stated that she would like to apologize to the Chief for what’s going on with a couple of their Village Council members.

CLOSING BOARD COMMENTS:

Mr. Gauntner stated that he agrees with the Chief 100 percent. He is upset about comments made in the paper which he categorized as uncalled for, especially those directed at Mr. Pasqualone.   Mr. Pasqualone simply documented the Fire District’s position in writing as requested. Mr. Gauntner reported that he, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Wayman met with Mr. Pasqualone about the issue. Mr. Gauntner stated that the Village Board Trustees must abstain from voting on this issue and it was the 3 Township Trustees that settled on a purchase amount.

Mr. Gauntner suggested that everyone look up the definition of Unjust Enrichment. The Village is not buying the property, they are simply reimbursing the Fire District for money the District put into the property. He also stated that, if the 2 Village Councilmen want to grandstand and continue to pursue this, he will be the first to make a motion to sue Madison Village for the full cost of the construction of the Training Center at St. #1 because it is his job as an elected official to look out for the taxpayers of Madison which includes both the Township and the Village. Mr. Vest voiced his agreement.

In reference to the cash summary submitted to the Fire Board with the Station #3 Building Recap discussed earlier in the meeting, Mr. Takacs reported that, prior to 2008, all funds were distributed from the General Fund. When Tony Long joined the District, he stressed the importance of having separate funds. Currently the District has 6 funds:

General (Operating) Fund                                                 Capital

Fire and Rescue /Ambulance and EMS Fund   Fire District Association Fund

General Bond Note Retirement                           Insurance Demo Fund

Mr. Takacs stated that he has heard some residents question why the District is putting EMS funds into Capital Improvements to pay for items not related to EMS. Mr. Takacs stated very clearly that this is absolutely false. Expenditures are made out of their respective funds and the District does not manipulate these funds by depositing or spending unauthorized money between funds.

Mr. Vest reminded everyone of the September 17th, 2014 and October 15th, 2014 Regular Fire Board meetings @ 7:00 pm at St. #3, 840 River Street, Madison.

Motion to adjourn @ 7:49pm by: Mr. Gauntner

Seconded by: Mr. Anderson                                 ROLL CALL:   All ayes

_______________________                           _______________________

Mr. Mark V. Vest, Chairman                                 Nila Brass, Clerk