Grass Valley looks at an interim fire chief (VIDEO) |

Grass Valley looks at an interim fire chief (VIDEO)

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

With the retirement of Grass Valley Fire Chief Tony Clarabut, the town's leaders are looking to appoint the department's Battalion Chief, Mark Buttron, to act as an interim chief until a more permanent solution is found.

According to an item on the Grass Valley City Council's agenda for its Tuesday meeting, the plan is to initiate the recruitment for a new chief and temporarily fill the position with Buttron during the search.

The recommendation is that Buttron be appointed as the interim fire chief retroactively to Aug. 19.

The salary for the position, $52.37 per hour, is described as "the bottom step of the fire chief salary range," said City Manager Dan Holler in his report on the proposal.

The city estimates the recruitment process could take a couple of months or more, after which Buttron would return to his battalion chief position, Holler said.

Clarabut, a retiree, filled the city's fire chief role in 2008 as a part-timer in what was also intended to be an interim position as the city pursued the prospect of one fire chief administering Nevada County and Nevada City's fire agencies — talks that never matured.

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As a part-timer already receiving a pension from his previous firefighting position, Clarabut saved the city from funding that benefit — until the state's employee pension program, CalPERS, began a crackdown on the practice of staffing key public safety positions with part-time annuitants.

Clarabut's last paid day was at the end of July, but he stayed on as a volunteer chief long enough to wrap up some projects, such as securing a new fire engine and finalizing the hiring of new firefighters.

The public portion of the Grass Valley City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, located at 125 East Main St.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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