Animas fire board has caused trouble

For the last 10 years, I dedicated a significant amount of my time as a volunteer with Durango Fire & Rescue. My time there is a source of great pride for me. Unfortunately, during my last year with this organization, I was witness to a vast amount of destruction internally by the Animas Fire District board of directors.

Led mainly by Claude “Bud” Deering, I heard this board make claims of fiscal responsibility, while doing the very opposite, often in ways that made no sense.

A glaring example is what happened when the chief dismissed a finance director for failure to meet minimum job requirements. Although the Animas board was paying $13,500 per year for financial services at the time, they immediately contracted with this recently terminated employee to do the same job for $62,000 per year. Not only does that represent nearly five times the cost, but the disrespect to the chief and the organization was shameful.

Since then this individual has been paid by and openly supportive of an Animas Fire District board that wants to dissolve Durango Fire & Rescue. This same finance person is now the election official over the current district board elections. Does anyone see this glaring conflict of interest? How can it even be legal? Consider keeping a copy of your ballot!

Additionally, the Animas board decided to spend more than $30,000 of taxpayer funds to conduct this mail-in election. This is an unprecedented expense in Colorado special-district elections. Until now, these board elections were held at the fire station and interested voters would gladly vote in person. What is this board afraid of? Why spend the additional thousands? Durango Fire & Rescue had personnel layoffs this year. As I said: decisions that make no sense.

All of the Animas board members need to put the community first, and not their personal agendas. Please replace Deering and not with his cronies. Elect Joe Lloyd, Kathy Morris and Matt Leeder to return respectability, accountability and honesty to the Animas board.

Mark Rich

Madisonville, Ky.