PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona - The Central Yavapai Fire District governing board on Tuesday continued to make progress on a plan to consolidate the CYFD's administration with the Chino Valley Fire District's management.
The board directed the two fire districts' attorneys to get together with the two fire chiefs and hammer out a proposed agreement that the board could examine.
Chairman Steve Rutherford said, "I would like to see this document be simple and broad and not try to contemplate every single issue that may come up."
He also said he would prefer the agreement have a means by which either district could leave the partnership if they feel it isn't working.
"Without any penalties," board member Bob Page added.
The board also discussed retaining outside counsel to deal with a letter it received from its insurance company regarding the fact that CYFD was named as a possible defendant in several of the claims filed by residents who lost their homes in last summer's Yarnell Hill fire.
"This, I think, is a standard form letter," board attorney Nick Cornelius said.
Cornelius said the letter referred to unsubstantiated claims that may be covered by the general liability insurance policy.
"There may be a basis for, at least, consulting with counsel in this matter - outside counsel," he said. "(Homeowners) have until June of this year for claims to be filed, but I don't see any reason to wait until the last minute."
"I don't think you can be too cautious in this instance," Rutherford said. "I agree with you - I think we should get some expert advice."
Cornelius said he would reach out to some friends who have a background in insurance law and see what they could determine about the letter.
The department's 2014-17 Strategic Plan also was on the agenda for approval, but board clerk Debbie Horton initially expressed some concern about putting the plan into action before a new chief was in place. Chino Valley Fire Chief Scott Freitag, who would likely be given the job, and was at the meeting, said that wasn't an issue.
"The thing with strategic plans is, they're a living, breathing document," he said. "At any point in time, even throughout the year, if you run into something that's not working, you make the adjustment with the plan."