Meet the candidates of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District |

Meet the candidates of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District

Jason Allen
Staff Photo |

Each of the candidates running for the Grand Lake Fire Protection District board of directors in the May 6 election are listed below in alphabetical order by last name. Each of the candidates were asked the following questions:

1. What experience makes you qualified to run for the Grand Lake Fire Protection District board?

2. What change, if any, would you like to see take place in the Grand Lake Fire Protection District during your term(s) in office?

Jason Allen

Grand Lake Area resident

Running for Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Master Electrician

Education: Four years electrical apprenticeship, State of Colorado certified Firefighter, EMT and HazMat operator, nationally certified wildland fire squad boss. I have completed courses at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., in Incident command and control, fire-cause determination, and effective leadership. I also completed the Aroura Fire Departments officer development program.

How many years in Grand County? Currently 9, 12 total

Original hometown: Ashtabula, Ohio

Family: Married to my wife Lisa for nine years

Pets: One beagle named Daisy

1. Experience: Until this January, I served the district as a paid operations lieutenant. My responsibilities included managing and maintaining the district’s fleet of 11 apparatus, ensuring HazMat compliance, EMS coordinator, along with running daily operations during my weekly shifts. I am very familiar with the department’s operations policies and budget and understand the importance of having a fiscally sound fire department to ensure response readiness and support to the community of Grand Lake. Prior to joining the Grand Lake Fire Department, I was owner of TMC Electric here in Grand County.

2. Change: The department has constantly and consistently improved over the last 12 years and is stronger now than ever, due to the amazing team work of our current membership. I would like to see the department continue to grow by encouraging greater involvement in the community through educational events and programs. Due to having a budget surplus every year for the last 11 years, the department has a cash reserve of $2 million. I would like to see some of that reinvested in the department through active volunteer recruiting and expansion of the department’s very successful wildland fire division. The wildland fire division is vital to the safety of our community. I know first-hand how vital it is to developing experienced and effective leadership that understands the importance of wildland preparedness, training, and real-life experience for our department’s firefighters.

Jeff Buckley

Grand Lake area resident. Primary residence in Denver

Running for Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Owner of an elevator company

Education: High school, Elevator Trade School

How many years in Grand County: 9 years

Original hometown: Sac City, Iowa

Family: Wife, two children, two grandchildren and on one the way

Pets: None at this time

1. Experience: Fourteen years volunteer fire fighter for Rattlesnake Fire Department , Elbert County. Retired as Chief. Eight years served on the board with Columbine Country Club in Grand Lake, which I served on the budget committee for the last four years. I have owned my own business for the past 18 years.

2. Change: As an outsider looking in, I really don’t know what changes are needed. I would bring fire, board and budget experience.

• I would like to focus on the following: Board and fire chief cohesion, the budget, how the fire department is viewed overall, and the overall wellbeing of the Grand Lake Fire District.

Richard Campbell

I’ve been a full-time resident of Grand Lake or the greater Grand Lake area for the last 34 years.

Running for Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Mechanic

Education: Middle Park High School graduate. Numerous post grad training certifications related to mechanical work and the fire service.

How many years in Grand County? 34

Original hometown: Denver

Family: Wife is a county employee.

Pets: one tall white sweet dog

1. Experience: I was a firefighter for 15 years and attended most of the board meetings during that time. I gained a lot of knowledge about how the board has functioned in the past and took part in many special committees with the board to build the firehouse and spec fire trucks.

2. Change: I would want to grow the membership’s want and desire to be long-term members. Actively plan for the future. Exercise fiscal prudence. Make decisions that I would be proud to share with the public.

Donald Dean

Grand Lake-Owner of Elk Creek Campground

Running for: Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Self-employed

Education: Bachelor of Science in business (real estate and finance)

How many years in Grand County? 3

Original hometown: Denver

Family: Wife Rebecca Almacher-Dean, daughter Megan (2013 Graduate of Middle Park High School) and son Douglas (sophomore at Middle Park High School)

Pets: Dillon, golden retriever

1. Experience: In November 2013, I was asked to fill the vacant seat of Mr. Campbell, until the upcoming elections. As the most recent member of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board, I have brought to my position my greatest assets, that of “common sense” and “fiscal responsibility.”

I am 51 years old and proud to be a Colorado native. I earned a bachelors degree in business from CU with emphasis in real estate/finance. I am the owner of Dean Properties (residential & commercial rental properties) and am a licensed Colorado real estate broker.

For many of you who do not know me, my wife and I are the current owners of Elk Creek Campground. We moved to Grand Lake in 2011, the hometown of my wife’s family – yes – she was an Allmacher (long-standing business owners of the Mountain Food Market).

2. Change: The Grand Lake Fire Protection District is in a vulnerable state of transition with this pending election. Cohesion and transparency of the board is critical. We all must remember that the board’s first priority has to be the safety and security of the people of Grand Lake and surrounding areas. In order for the fire department to continue it’s successful and profitable history, a “united” front is necessary. Collective opinions must me presented to the board with the knowledge that its members hold an obligation to do what is best for the community. I believe that the current group of board members I serve with have the best interest of the Grand Lake Fire Department in the forefront, and I would be honored to be re-elected to serve with the current and newly elected board in this upcoming election

Melinda (Mindy) Everhart

Grand Lake-area resident

Running for Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Business owner

Education: Bachelors degree in finance

How many years in Grand County? 18

Original hometown: Denver

Family: My husband and I have five children.

Pets: None

1. Experience: I was with the Grand Lake Fire District for longer than 15 years. During that time I have worn many different hats. During my initial 10 years with the department, I was both a volunteer firefighter and officer. In 2008, I transitioned to the career side of the district as the district administrator. My primary responsibilities involved all of the financial side of the district, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, benefit administration, payroll and assisting with both the annual budget and the annual audit. I also wrote the Policy Manual for the fire district. I left a short five months ago and at that time, knew all of the financial statements inside and out. I know what questions to ask. I have the business and finance background to be a fresh voice on this board. Even more importantly, I have a passion for Grand Lake Fire and want to remain involved.

2. Change: If elected to the fire board, the goals I would like to achieve are: 1) Financial stability, sustainability and accountability. 2) Ensure the taxpayers of the district have a board that represents them and the best interest of the department. 3) Explore ways to improve recruitment and retention so employees and volunteers don’t feel like they have to leave the department and to create an environment some past volunteers would like to return to. 4) Ensure better communication with our community. 5) Bring back favorite community events like breakfast with Santa and the KOLE fund dinner.

It would be my honor to serve you on our fire board!

Pat Farmer

Grand Lake resident

Occupation: Retired

Education: High school graduate, two years college, American University, Washington, D.C., one year college San Jacinto College, Houston, Texas.

Number of years in Grand County: Full-time Grand Lake resident for 19 years, part time property owner from 1987-1995

Original hometown: Moved here from Denver

Family: Husband, Richard, three grown children, five granddaughters. Daughter, Allison, raised in Grand Lake.

Pets: Moxy, our much loved dog, rescued by the sainted Grand County Pet Pals.

1. Experience: The qualifications to run for a special taxing district board are: A candidate must be a registered voter and a property owner (or spouse of a property owner) and/or a resident in the district. I am a registered voter, have owned property since 1987, and been a full-time resident since 1995. Since moving to Grand Lake, I have owned my own business and managed others, and worked as an hourly employee, doing whatever necessary to keep us going. Living and working in Grand Lake is a great lifestyle, but it can also be difficult and expensive. I respect my fellow residents who work hard to pay the bills, and I promise to pay attention to the details of how and why our tax dollars are spent. I believe the Grand Lake Fire Protection District belongs to the residents, and we deserve honest and open representation. I will seek input from the people of the District on any issues regarding the fire department. I will always act in the best interests of the owners of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District; the taxpayers.

2. Change: There are a few immediate changes I would like to see at the Grand Lake Fire Protection District. First, detailed agendas, minutes, and finances should be published on the District’s website. Second, I would like to see all meeting notices and board position openings posted in multiple locations, including the Sky Hi News, to encourage more community awareness and involvement. Over time, I would like to work on accountability and organizational issues.

Scott R. Huff

We live in the Grand lake area of the district.

Running for the Grand Lake Fire Protection District.

Occupation: I am a carpenter with 45 years of experience in the construction industry. I am a general contractor and owner of S.R Huff Construction which I started about 10 years ago.

Education: My education consists of taking specific classes such as business law, business administration, builders engineering and personnel management. I thought at one time about perusing the legal profession but realized my real interest was in working with my hands. I am also an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army.

Number of years in Grand County: We have been full time residents of Grand County since 1999

Original hometown: I was born in Long Beach California and lived in both the south bay area of Los Angeles and the San Fernando valley. After a couple years in Anchorage, I returned to southern California and took up residence in the small mountain town of Big Bear Lake where I lived for 25 years. After purchasing a motor home, Jeannie and I spent a couple years traveling around the western U.S., which is how we found Grand Lake.

Family: Our family consists of Jeannie, myself and a foster cat named Murdoch.

Pets: Foster cat, Murdoch

Experience: In the past, I was a citizen volunteer for the San Bernardino sheriff’s department. I was also active in emergency preparedness and was a member of REACT and worked in conjunction with RACES to provide emergency communications to those agency’s as needed. I worked directly with USFS fire, CDF fire as well as our local volunteer fire departments. I was trained and certified as a civilian incident commander by the U.S. Forest Service.

Change: I want to see our fire department be the best it can be. I want our volunteers well-equipped, highly trained, highly motivated and proud to be members of our Grand Lake Fire Department. I want the residents of this district to again be proud of our department and restore the confidence in our department we once had. We have a lot of great people to work with, I don’t think it’s going to be very hard.

Larry Malouff

Grand Lake-area resident

Running for Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Retired Fire Captain

Education: Degree in Fire Prevention, Degree in Fire Suppression, Course work National Fire Academy, Fire Instructor Rocky Mountain Fire Academy, Fire Instructor Red Rocks Community College

Number of years in Grand County: 23 years

Original hometown: Colorado Native

Family: Married with three adult children

Pets: Labrador retrievers

1. Experience: I have more than 30 years experience both as a career firefighter and as a volunteer firefighter and have served as a special district board member. I recognize the infrastructure, training and equipment needs of our firefighters as well as the need for fair and decisive leadership. As a fire officer and as a small business owner, I long ago realized that a healthy work environment must include the ability for everyone to discuss challenging issues openly and honestly. Employees and members must feel comfortable knowing that they can speak without later paying a price for voicing an opinion.

Our taxpayer/voters deserve responsible board members that will provide fire administration with much needed direction, while supporting our troops and spending district resources wisely. Grand Lake Fire Protection District does many things very well. All organizations have room for improvement and require responsible leaders that pledge to serve the community as well as our team.

2. Change: The most current rumor running rampant within Grand Lake Fire is that new board members want to see personnel changes once they are in office. I have not heard one candidate even mention such an absurd idea. To the contrary, I would like to see less of the ‘revolving door syndrome’ and have more Grand Lake Fire members enjoy years of experience serving our district instead of merely months of experience. In December 2013, our District’s entire paid staff as well as a dedicated contractor walked off the job. When an entire staff leaves their full-time employment positions, there is definitely a leadership issue. The current board and chief seemed to care less and made excuses instead of addressing the problem. I hope to see our organization extend a friendly, welcoming hand to anyone interested in serving. I remember when our District had a waiting list for prospective members. What has changed?

Frank Reardon

Grand Lake-area resident

Running for Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Realtor – Grand Realty, Inc – On the Boardwalk in Grand Lake

Education: BS – University of Maryland – Information Systems Management

Number of years in Grand County: I retired to Grand Lake during the weekend of Thanksgiving of 2001 – That is about 12.5 years.

Original hometown: Olney, Maryland

Family: Divorced — four children, 12 grandchildren, one great-granddaughter

Pets: Golden Retriever, Molly

1. Experience: Having recently served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Three Lakes Water & Sanitation, I have fresh knowledge of the process of managing a Special District. During my career, as a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP), I focused on managing a variety of projects and people. Also, I know that the Special District Association (SDA) has a wealth of knowledge that can assist board members to be better prepared to manage the District. I will aggressively help them use that resource.

2. Change: Because I know that it takes time to become aware of the issues, I have attended the last three Grand Lake Fire Protection District board meetings. I have observed that the Board could benefit by having timelier and better information so that they are better prepared to address the issues during the meetings. I will aggressively attempt to make that happen.

Richard (Dick) Sisung

Currently “weekender” moving to area full-time summer of 2015, own home on “old dump road.”

Running for: Grand Lake Fire Protection District Board

Occupation: Merrill Lynch Vice President & Wealth Management Advisor

Education: BS Hillsdale College, Michigan, Northwestern University National Graduate Trust School

Number of years in Grand County? 13

Original hometown: Denver

Family: Wife Deborah, daughter Jennifer, son Brian, two grandchildren

Pets: Rescue dog “Buddy” cocker spaniel

1. Experience: 45 years in financial industry — 10 years trust officer at major national banks, 10 years managing director private banking of major Denver national banking institution, 16 years Merrill Lynch Vice President & Wealth Management Advisor (current).

Currently sit on board of directors of closely held Denver Company. Familiar with fiduciary responsibilities of boards of directors — they work for and on behalf of the taxpayers. Past President of Lyons Homestead HOA and current president of Peper Stagecoach HOA.

2. Change: Less executive sessions by board; better communication with taxpayers; more transparency and access to board members; greater visibility by department in entire district, not just town; review of vacation/sick leave/personal days accumulation and carry over and an accrual in budget for same. Maintain high level of training of personnel.

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