St. Germain becomes Grand Lake Fire chief
Board undivided in decision to hire interim chief into permanent role
Grand Lake Fire has its next chief, hiring from within the department and selecting interim chief Seth St. Germain.
Recognizing St. Germain’s performance in the interim period, the Grand Lake Fire Protection District’s board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to solidify him in the position. St. Germain’s first official day as chief was Sunday, starting with the new pay period.
Germain has served as interim chief since November, when the former chief, Kevin Ratzmann, was put on administrative leave. Ratzmann was confirmed to no longer work for the department in December, though details surrounding his exit remain unclear.
After posting the position internally and identifying two candidates, the board interviewed both of them. Chairman David Craig said the second candidate actually endorsed St. Germain, and that carried a lot of weight with him.
Craig explained that board members identified St. Germain as the best candidate for a variety of reasons, including that he meets or exceeds all the necessary certifications and qualifications and that St. Germain has performed exceptionally well in the interim period.
In addition to demonstrated success overseeing emergency incident scenarios, Craig also said that, “in a number of cases board members received unsolicited communications from people that were on the scene, usually from other emergency officials, commending Chief St. Germain for his actions in those instances.”
Craig added that the board also received “really great” letters of recommendation supporting St. Germain’s candidacy from Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin and Grand County EMS Chief Robert Good. Furthermore, Craig said St. Germain has shown great control of the department’s finances and further commended his cooperative work with other emergency agencies.
Perhaps most important, Craig said that St. Germain has been an excellent ambassador of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District and has the people at the department behind him.
“The team seems excited about what he brings to the organization, and that was clearly evidenced after we made the announcement, that the team was really excited that they found a leader they really believe in,” Craig said.
Craig said St. Germain and the board agreed on a salary that was less than the previous chief’s but in line with professionals who hold comparable positions and qualifications. The position ranged from $100,000 to $120,000 annually, which was confirmed as appropriate by Mountain States Employers Council from past surveys with similar departments.
The board also introduced a new 15% incentive bonus, tied to the chief’s performance in three key areas — his emergency response and in-the-field performance; his financial performance; and his annual evaluation, including measures for employee morale, relationships with other emergency agencies and the chief being a good ambassador of the department.
With that, Germain will start at $110,000 annually. If he meets all goals as determined by the board, he could receive up to $126,500 in total wages and compensation.
“I think it’s important that people know that we’re trying to incentivize certain behaviors and certain performance that we think are in the best interest of our taxpaying community,” Craig said.
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