supporter
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14947) 6 years ago
I am seeking an explanation why the mayor dcided to hire someone from Ohio rather than hire Cameron Duffin as the new fire chief. Mr. Duffin has nearly 20 years on the fire department. He knows Miles City and the local needs than no outsider is going to understand for quite a while. This situation needs to be changed. 

The fact that the mayor may not like someone on a personal level is no reason not to hire that person for a postion in which they are well qualified to serve. Afterall, Butch isn't my favorite person in the world, but if I need someone to cook pancakes, eggs, and bacon, Butch would get ample consideration, as he is well qualified.

Hopefully, this situation gets rectified and we put well qualified local people in important positions rather than importing someone who would have to learn the ropes around here. Speak up Miles City and make you voices heard!

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (3/26/2015 9:10:50 PM)]
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Posted by Tande (+123) 6 years ago
The mayor should be ashamed of himself. He brought up items that had nothing to do with the capabilities of the fire chief. He has had a vendetta for years against MCF. He opened a big can of worms and I hope he doesn't choke on them.
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Posted by MeiMei (+166) 6 years ago
Cameron Duffin is the best choice and I am sad that Miles City's council did not support him. So very sad!!!
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Posted by redmondroughneck (+72) 6 years ago
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the mayor was not the only vote to decide who was going to be the next Chief.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14947) 6 years ago
He was the tie-breaking vote, however.
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Posted by MeiMei (+166) 6 years ago
Yes ........ What if the council members voted for the person who has done an amazing job as interim and should have been given the chance to be a fully endorsed chief, there would not have been a tie. The fire deaths mentioned in the paper were tragic but I do not see how they related at all to the current chief position.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14947) 6 years ago
You can't expect Mr. Ahner to vote the other way and risk his breakfast privileges at the 600.

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (3/28/2015 6:42:42 PM)]
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+623) 6 years ago
I enjoyed your opening message, Richard, and I agree with you. Thank you for spotlighting this most recent dubious decision by the mayor and the prevailing members of the city council.

What has been missing from the discussion so far is a link to the Star article. http://www.milescitystar.com

And, given the weight assigned to the scoring of the "hiring committee of three non-council members", what is missing from the article are the names of those individuals, the credentials qualifying them to evaluate candidates of fire chief for a Class II municipal fire & ambulance service, or why the mayor chose to bury his power of appointment beneath this subterfuge. Those are glaring omissions by the reporter for which there is no reasonable excuse.

Councilwoman Galbraith went straight for the jugular and I admire her for that.

If anyone would care to preview the chaos that will likely ensue, I suggest reviewing the recent turnover of airport managers under the direction of the Airport Commission.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+9999) 6 years ago
Here's the article ...

---
Mayor breaks tie vote, picks Ohio fire candidate
Tells interim chief he sees problems in department

The Miles City Council was split Tuesday on whether to hire a fire chief applicant from Ohio or to go with Cameron Duffin, interim fire chief of nine months.

Mayor Butch Grenz broke the tie by choosing Gary Warren of Ohio.

After the vote, Duffin asked Grenz why the Ohio candidate was chosen over him.

The mayor replied that the culture in the department needs to change, and raised issues surrounding the deaths of four children in two fires that happened several years ago. He also criticized handling of some ambulance calls. More of the discussion appears below.

Duffin reviews job

Before the vote, Duffin addressed the council, listing the things he has accomplished, in addition to juggling the two full-time jobs (interim chief and captain). Some of those were negotiating an agreement between Holy Rosary Healthcare and the fire department on out-of-town ambulance transfers, rewriting the ambulance fee collection policy, revising the part-paid workers’ rules and job descriptions and pay scale and applying for a $750,000 grant (with the help of Grant Administrator Connie Muggli), and working with the ambulance billing company for continued increased revenue for the city.

Duffin has worked for the department since 1994.

Appointment discussion

There were more than 30 applicants for the position.

Grenz started the discussion by telling the council that the hiring committee of three non-council members ranked Warren highest.

Councilman Mark Ahner said when a committee goes through all that effort and time looking through the candidates and determining the best qualified applicant, unless there is substantial reason not to agree with the committee, the council should go along with what they have recommended to the mayor and what the mayor recommends to the council.

Grenz said that if the council didn’t accept the recommendation, the city could be in legal trouble.

City Attorney Dan Rice said it could be subject to challenge by the person whom the committee recommended.

Councilman John Hollowell said, “I always feel we should support loyalty, and these people [firemen] put a lot of time in, work their way up, ... sacrificed for this community.” There may be cases where it is warranted to choose someone outside the area, he said, “but I don’t think this case does.”

Councilman Jerry Partridge agreed with Hollowell.

“We rarely appoint from the outside,” he said.

When it’s done, “it takes a long time for that person to get used to the job,” he said.

He said it is not known how well the person would do and whether he will turn around and leave.

“As far as defamation of a committee goes, that’s silly. That’s really silly,” Partridge said.

Councilwoman Roxanna Brush said she’s always liked that Miles City promoted from within, but the people on the committee are smart and she didn’t know why they decided the way they did.

Councilman Dwayne Andrews said, “I guess my understanding, and you can correct me, was the hiring committee didn’t recommend anything.”

He said the committee “scored” the applicants and decided which ones should be brought in and interviewed by the council.

Members of the hiring committee interviewed the applicants on Skype.

“It’s pretty hard to judge a person’s makeup and personality on Skype,” Andrews said.

“So was that the committee’s recommendation? Was it for them to be interviewed by the council?” Councilwoman Susanne Galbraith asked.

“They suggested that, but that’s not really in our policy,” Grenz said.

“So, basically, they didn’t pick anyone is what you’re saying,” she said.

According to Grenz, the committee said “the one they thought had done the best job was Gary.”

Voting against going outside of the fire department were Galbraith, Partridge, Hollowell and Andrews.

Voting for the Ohio applicant were Ken Gardner, Sheena Martin, Ahner and Brush.

After the vote

Duffin addressed the mayor, saying, “You sat in the council chambers multiple times and told me we need to be hiring local people for the fire department. ... You also stated you weren’t appointing anyone [as chief] until they fixed the problems with the billing first.”

“I repaired the problem, not someone who doesn’t even live here,” he said.

Duffin said the mayor told him that the department had been running more smoothly since he was appointed interim chief than any other time in his terms as mayor.

Duffin asked for an explanation why this person was appointed, someone no one in this town has ever met, “and has nothing invested in our community.”

“All right, I really didn’t want to do this, but I felt the culture in the fire department needed to have a change,” Grenz said. “The idea of having two little girls (dying in a fire), five blocks from the fire department and nobody showing up is bad enough, then we had the next thing down on Woodbury with two kids perishing in a fire. Rural [fire] shows up, and you guys are having an argument whose jurisdiction it is.”

(The North Haynes Avenue fire occurred in 2003 and was outside the city’s jurisdiction.)

Duffin said they responded to the Woodbury fire and removed the two children.

(When the children were removed, one was alive and one was deceased.)

Grenz told him not to interrupt and recalled when he was mayor the first time and the ambulance wasn’t picking up people. “... They ended up in ICU for weeks,” Grenz said.

“Weeks?!” Duffin disagreed.

“Yes. This has never been corrected, and still to this day you will not send two ambulances out at a time. ... Either you’re in the business or you’re not,” Grenz said.

Grenz said when the department doesn’t send a second ambulance to the airport for an air flight, “the bill goes from $5,000 to $30,000, and not everyone can afford that $30,000.”

“The culture has changed and you know it,” Duffin said.

Firefighter Ryan Smith said bringing up people perishing in fires is “old history” and is the wrong way to approach this.

He added that the city and county fire departments have a better relationship than they ever had.

The local firefighters’ union supported Duffin’s appointment.

Warren chosen as next chief

Gary Warren of Ohio was chosen to be the next Miles City Fire and Rescue chief.

Warren is a volunteer firefighter-instructor and an assistant team coordinator for the hazardous materials response team in Middlefield, Ohio.

He has worked in two fire departments in Texas and in East Cleveland, Ohio, serving as assistant fire chief, operations officer and acting captain. He is a fire safety inspector.

Warren has earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s in business administration degree.

He has completed a Federal Emergency Management Agency program on emergency management and the Department of Labor’s journeyman firefighter program.
---

Source: http://www.milescitystar....-candidate
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Posted by David Schott (+16953) 6 years ago
It seems like Grenz ran for mayor solely for the purpose of taking revenge against the fire department.

I wish the new guy the best of luck. He's going to need it.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14947) 6 years ago
The article raises more questions:
Voting against going outside of the fire department were Galbraith, Partridge, Hollowell and Andrews.

Voting for the Ohio applicant were Ken Gardner, Sheena Martin, Ahner and Brush.


-Is this motion that was actually voted upon, or is this just a "stylistic" manner of writing? From this description it seems like the voting was not on the same motion. The motion should be to accept the committee's recommendation and hire Gary Warren as the new fire chief. So what exactly was the motion that was being voted upon???

-Who is on the selection committee and what are their qualification other than being "smart"?

-The committee made their recommendation based on a skype interview? So basically the guy hired will get off the bus and have no idea where the fire station is even located (or that it was the Allis-Chalmers dealer before it was the fire hall ). No second interview to see if the guy is legit? Wow! 

I would remind everyone that back in 2007 a group of "smart" people were taken in by a guy from Midwest Fire Suppression. Turns out he was all hat and no cattle.
Thursday, 24 May 2007 - Commissioners Matthews and Huber vote 2-0 to approve an agreement with Midwest Fire Suppression for mutual aid and exchange of equipment, supplies, & manpower - despite objections raised by the County Fire Warden. Commissioner Nesbit was excused from the meeting. MFS item was penciled into the agenda after public notice was issued. -

http://milescity.com/foru...9963#39963

I hope this turns out better than that did...

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (3/29/2015 12:15:28 PM)]
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Posted by Elizabeth Emilsson (+796) 6 years ago
I was appalled when I read the Star article. Cameron Duffin has given so much to the community.
Fireman Culture? What is that? Purposeful? Dedicate? Giving? Like firemen most every where they sacrifice a lot to be ready as first responders to disasters and tragedy. When I needed them they were calm, kind and reassuring. The Miles City fire department are a great group of guys.

The mayor should try to develop a culture himself out side the one in his kitchen.
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Posted by Lisa Dighans (+26) 6 years ago
Darn right we need a culture change…in a Mayor and City Council members that carry on business in such an unprofessional, illogical, ungrateful manner seething with obvious personal grudges! Unlike the Mayor and Council, I plan to cite facts, evidence, and solid reasoning behind my opinions and convictions--thus, stay tuned for the rest of this story....in a letter to the editor.
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Posted by Lisa Dighans (+26) 6 years ago
You are right, Mr. redmondroughneck--this vote did not happen in a Mayor Grenz vaccuum. However, besides the tie-breaking vote...Mayor Grenz had significant influence on the council, in a manner consistent with people who actually don't have a solid basis for their reasoning--he utilized fear and guilt tactics to persuade. Usually name calling comes after that, but he did worse....he made serious implications that the tragic deaths of people in certain fires were due to actions or decisions of Cameron Duffin. If he is so worried about legal ramifications, then perhaps he might want to consider that those statements he made could easily be viewed as libelous.

[Edited by Lisa Dighans (4/1/2015 2:20:07 PM)]
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Posted by Tom P (+22) 6 years ago
Hi folks! First I’ll introduce myself. I’m Tom Perko, an Ohio firefighter and EMT since 1979 and paramedic since 1984. This isn’t about me, so I’m not posting my entire resume (ha ha ha). Your newly selected Fire Chief, Gary Warren, has been one of my best friends since 1984. He’s a good man and one of the nicest people that you will meet.

He’s been in the fire service and emergency medical service since the 70’s, and loves what he does. He’s worked in the inner city and served in little communities as well. Two of his greatest strengths are as a leader and a teacher. He has presented outreach classes for the Ohio Fire Academy and the National Fire Academy. His biggest strength and gift is his personality. Most people in our vocation like and respect him.

I have read about your concerns... You don’t know him… He doesn’t know you or your town… PLEASE remember, he is a person, who is willing to come 1500 miles to share what he knows, and to learn from you. He certainly knows what it takes to get the job done.

All of his friends are concerned about him going so far away and walking into a hornets nest. I’m sure that Captain Duffin and the rest of the department only want the best for your community. I can assure you that Gary will want to provide the same thing. If you give your new chief a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

Good luck Gary, and good luck to the entire Miles City Fire Department.
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Posted by Elizabeth Emilsson (+796) 6 years ago
I am no longer a member of the Miles City Community, so I can't speak for them in welcoming your friend. What you have been reading on this forum shows no resentment to the new fire chief, but the disappointment in how he was selected. I know Cameron Duffin is not a petty person and will always do a great job in spite of the way he has been treated by the Mayor and his cronies. On the other hand, your friend should be made aware of how the Mayor operates and the vindictive ways he acts when he perceives some type of disloyalty. In other words he appears to be paranoid and can turn on a person with very little provocation. In other words your friend needs to watch his back not from the fire fighters but from the Mayor.
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Posted by cubby (+2625) 6 years ago
I know if I was the new chief coming to a new town and read the local papers for the last week and read this forum, I wouldn't even waste my time to make the move to this small town. I can only wish him the best. But pretty sure he won't get a warm welcome coming into this hornets nest. I'm sure he is really good at what he does and is more then qualified to do the job offered to him, but so are a lot of others that have earned it here in their community. Good luck to who ever takes the job.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14947) 6 years ago
Dear Mayor Grenz:

Your rationale for hiring the new Fire Chief is now, very tragically, null and void. 

Am I an asshole for pointing this out... Is it too soon... ? Most definately. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are learned in the heat of the battle. Do better next time, Sir.

Sincerely,

Richard Bonine, Jr.

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (4/21/2015 10:39:48 AM)]
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Posted by David Schott (+16953) 6 years ago
Has Chief Warren even started his new job with MCF&R yet?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14947) 6 years ago
Yes, according to the STAR. 13-Apr-2015

http://www.milescitystar....ong-résumé
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Posted by Kelly (+2693) 6 years ago
Thank you for posting Richard. I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one thinking this.
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Posted by tjh (+139) 6 years ago
What could they have done different Richard?
How could they perform any better?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14947) 6 years ago
What could they have done different Richard? 
How could they perform any better?


I am not talking about the firemen. They did an exceptional job. I am talking about Mayor Grenz's logic in choosing a fire chief and the faulty reasoning he used. He needs to do better.
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Posted by Tim Wagoner (+758) 6 years ago
I am talking about Mayor Grenz's logic


Come on Richard, this is Butch your talking about. We all know he swings from the hip on issues. Sometimes I wonder in which direction he is swinging from, but he always swings from the hip with intention of putting one in the bleachers.

Besides that man can cook.........
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Posted by Tnuhotevil (+98) 6 years ago
How is this guy the Mayor? I'm mean honestly? Who voted for this guy.....again?
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17237) 6 years ago
Ummmm.....this is Miles City. Look who they elected to the legislature.
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