Nelson stays fire chief

Ethan Brogan photo
Glenrock Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jeff Nelson swears in at the town council meeting Jan. 22.

By Ethan Brogan

After weeks of debating over municipal codes and several heated meetings, Jeff Nelson has been re-affirmed by the Glenrock Town Council as fire chief.
The tension began several weeks ago, when the town council expected to hear the Glenrock Volunteer Fire Department’s nomination for fire chief. Nelson has been in his position for more than 10 years, and the GVFD members looked to keep it that way when rumors swirled that the mayor and some on the council wanted to see a change.
GVFD members and supporters showed up in full-force to back their choice for fire chief a Jan. 8 council meeting. The decision was tabled until the Jan. 22 meeting.
Between meetings, Nelson, GVFD President Hershel Wickett and Glenrock Mayor Doug Frank met to work on the issue.
“We had major intensity around the appointment of the fire chief,” Frank said. “Since that time, chief Nelson and Mr. Wickett and I have had to chance to have a very nice informational three-hour meeting between the three of us.”
As a result of the meeting, a representative from the GVFD will attend one council meeting per month and offer reports when applicable.
During Monday night’s council meeting, Nelson was unanimously voted as fire chief.
“It is what it is,” Nelson said. “It’s resolved as far as I’m concerned.”
During the debates, Nelson chose to remain silent, instead allowing the town and GVFD members to work out the issues. Now, Nelson said he has shifted his main concerns to recruiting more volunteers to the department.
With 30 volunteers currently staffed, Nelson wants to bring in enough to get to 40 firefighters, the maximum allowed by municipal code.
“I’ve never seen it since I’ve been here,” he said, remarking that some people are working out of town or have two jobs, making it more difficult to volunteer on a regular basis. The new plan would be for the fire chief’s term to run concurrently with the mayor’s.
Nelson will remain chief for 2018 until a new mayor is elected. After this year, the GVFD will make another nomination for chief if another firefighter is qualified to take the position.    


Glenrock Independent

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