Meeting Minutes November 2013



The regular meeting of the Grand Traverse Rural Fire Board was called to order at 6:00 p.m.,

by Chairman Paul Biondo, at 4123 Vance Road, Traverse City, MI   49685.


Roll call – 7 members, a quorum


Fife Lake – Linda Forwerck

Green Lake – Paul Biondo

Long Lake – Karen Rosa

Paradise – Tim Trudell

Union – Doug Mansfield

Whitewater – Ron Popp

Chief/CEO Theo Weber

Accountant Dave Milliron

Brian Carpenter Stn#2

Blair Chief Jim Carroll

Roger Gibson Stn#6

Bill Sedlacek-Retired Chief


Absent: Grant Kim Gauld- Retired #6 Lt

Paul Olson – MUM agent


AGENDA:   Motion by Union, supported by Fife Lake to move up Paul Olson from New Business to go beneath the minutes, and approve the Agenda as revised.  All ayes.  Motion carried.


MINUTES:   Motion by Long Lake, supported by Union to approve the 10/16/13 Meeting Minutes and the Ad Hoc Committee Minutes.  All ayes.   Motion carried.


INSURANCE:   Paul Olson reported on the 2014 Insurance Policy that will be renewed 01/01/14.

The premium has increased by 2 ½ to 3 percent.  There was an overall company increase of 3-5 percent.   There have been some changes to the Par Plan deductibles.  U.S. Specialty has automatically increased the deductible to $500.00, from previous $250.00.

There is a slight credit back for the difference.    Paul asked the board if a two million coverage limit was enough.    They need to look at replacement coverage for vehicles, because it may not be the true replacement value, due to the equipment added on.   Inland Marine has $160,000.00, which covers the mules, snowmobiles, and pontoon boat.     Chairman Biondo asked about the cost of a coverage limit of 3, 4 or 5 million.   Paul Olson said he would get them a quote.

Chairman Biondo asked about the DNR Wildfire trucks.   Discussion.   Paul Olson said if they had a problem with Wildfire replacement costs they can add more coverage and Inland Marine will cover loose equipment.   Popp-Whitewater asked about the auto schedule because he didn’t see the #3 Wildfire truck.   Paul will check back with Julie to get info on it, and add it to the policy.   They will update the vehicle list.  Workers Compensation is about the same.

Popp-Whitewater stated his township is the only one who pays their fire fighters direct-they don’t get individual compensation checks.  Does that affect the work comp?   Olson said fire service injuries have always gone to Rural Fire.  Popp said his fire fighters didn’t want to wait a year for their compensation so they are paid bi-weekly.  Rural sends a check to Whitewater.

Chief Weber stated Julie spent a lot of time transcribing word for word the narrative of the whole meeting, and according to the Open Meetings Act that does not need to be done, just have the motions and votes.  The Board agreed, and said the tapes can be saved for a year for someone who wants to listen to them.   Popp said it was a person’s right to have certain statements recorded verbatim, and not the entire meeting.  Julie will keep it to Motions and votes unless stated otherwise.

FINANCIAL REPORTS:    Dave Milliron gave the report. The General Fund Money Market balance is $373,325.25.   The cost controls are in balance.   Line item #934.001 is over by $879.05 and will need a Budget Amendment.  The Public Improvement Fund balance is $1,389.23, and the Grant Fund balance is $5.01.   Motion by Union, supported by Paradise to approve the Financial Reports as presented.  All ayes.  Motion carried.

Budget amendment to increase #934.001 (Pump Testing) by $900.00, and decrease #934.000 (Vehicle repair) by $900.00.  Motion by Union, supported by Paradise to approve the recommended Budget Amendment.  All ayes.  Motion carried.

CLAIMS:   Pre-Authorized $3,027.88 and $77,660.46 (Loan).   Motion by Union, supported by Springfield to approve the Pre-Authorized Claims.  All ayes.  Motion carried.

Open invoices $$29,338.74.   Motion by Long Lake, supported by Springfield to pay the Open invoices in the amount of $29,338.74.   All ayes.  Motion carried.

Payrolls $5,375.21 and $4,726.40.   Motion by Union, supported by Fife Lake to approve the payrolls as submitted.  All ayes.  Motion carried.

Compensation payout approval $60,000.00.   Dave Milliron asked Ron Popp if they were going to change the way they pay Whitewater.  Popp said “his team wants to keep it the same; it’s ultimately up to Chief Weber and our future involvement with the organization.”

Motion by Paradise, supported by Long Lake to approve the Compensation payout.  All ayes.  Motion carried.  


Correspondence:   None




Budget/ Finance:   Committee met twice.  Rosa-Long Lake reported they proposed to move $100,000.00 from a CD to the Revenue, to cover the new turnout gear this year and next year, and $25,000 to update the computer system and website.  Increase in training funds.



Rural Board Minutes 11/20/13 Page 3


Budget/Finance continued:  Chief Weber said they will have new job descriptions in the Stations, and get the Officer training up to what is required.   Dave Milliron stated that Julie’s retirement payments will eventually decrease.   There was a pay upgrade for the Health and Safety Officer, and the Accountant.


CHIEF/CEO REPORT:    Chief Weber provided a written copy of his activities, and also some current information.   Chief Weber reported there were 6 individuals that had been put on Medical Hold by Rural’s physician and they were still responding, so he put a stop to that and gave them a letter not to respond until the medical issues were resolved.

Chief Weber reported that there were 3 Facebook pages out there representing Rural and he shut those down, they were operated by individuals and not representing this department.

Chief Weber reported on a communication program called “textcom” where all members will be tied to.   It has instant communication, limited access, and is free.   There is text and email, and a calendar for training.  Available with wireless.

Chief Weber said he resolved the billing issue with Blair.  They sent Blair an invoice and Chief Carroll had to make corrections.  He will meet with Chief Carroll to go over the invoicing in the future.

Chief Weber reported they will have a live burn on a donated structure.  Captain Brown will be in charge of that on Herkner Road.

Chief Weber made some changes, and implemented the command structure the Board wanted.  Battalions are Stations, Station Chiefs are Captains.  Changed helmet colors to red for Lieutenants, as it is at other county fire departments.  Captains will have white.

Chief Weber is working on improving accounting controls, inventory the loose equipment, and track expenses for apparatus.   They have a new Mask Fit Testing machine to do their fit tests in December.

Chief Weber reported that they have had two sessions of gear fittings- everybody got measured, it doesn’t mean that everybody who got measured will get gear, but they have a record for when they do buy them gear.


Health & Safety Officer:  Becca excused.

RTC & Attorney:  No reports.


UNFINISHED BUSINESS:   Audit 2012.   Motion by Paradise, supported by Springfield to accept the Audit 2012.   All ayes.  Motion carried.


NEW BUSINESS:   Approval of Loan Payment due Dec. 1st.  (Done).

*Approval to change the 401 retirement document-reduced Board share of contribution 16.20% to 11.20%.   Dave copied part the document plan as reference (compliance with Fed. Gov.)  Motion by Fife Lake supported by Paradise change the Board share of contribution.  All ayes.  Motion carried.  

*Appoint a new Trustee/Plan administrator – usually the Fire Chief.  Motion by Fife Lake, supported by Paradise to appoint Chief/CEO Theo Weber.  All ayes.  Motion carried.

*Set date for Budget Public Hearing.   Motion by Paradise, supported by Long Lake to set the Budget Hearing for December 18th at 6:00 p.m.  All ayes.  Motion carried.

Secretary will post it.




Rural Board Minutes 11/20/13 Page 4


PUBLIC INPUT:   Bill Sedlacek stated he is enjoying deer hunting and got an 8 point.

Bill thanked the Board for their help and tools to allow him to be the former Chief.


Chairman Biondo mentioned Rita Dinger passed away and they will need a new Clerk.


Tim Trudell asked why the “possible closed session” was on the agenda.   Julie said the Chief asked her to put it on there.


Ron Popp apologized for being late, and asked who voted to approve the Ad Hoc Committee meeting minutes.   It was answered that everyone voted on it, (even those who were not at the Committee meetings).  Chairman Biondo said they were Board minutes.


Ron Popp said that for the record he had something he wanted in the minutes.   Referring to the 10/16/13 minutes – indicates that “Popp requested that the Ad Hoc Committee manufacture the minutes of their meetings.”  He wants it made really clear that it was the Chair and Vice Chair at the advice of the attorney…”   Secretary said she tried to listen word for word.   Popp said that when he makes a request that something appears it is just the statement afterword, I apologize if my request caused undue hardship.”


No other business.   Meeting adjourned 7:31 p.m.