Interim Consolidated fire chief leaves, search continues for new leader |

Interim Consolidated fire chief leaves, search continues for new leader

Keri Brenner
Staff Writer

Consolidated interim fire chief Jerry Johnson, left, accepts a plaque for his service from interim division chief Jim Turner at Johnson's last board meeting Thursday night.

Nevada County Consolidated Fire District officials lavished praise and words of gratitude on Interim Fire Chief Jerry Johnson at his last board meeting Thursday night.

"Thanks for an incredible job," said board member David Hanson.

"You've been a tremendous asset to the district," added board member Ron Pennington. "We appreciate the extra effort that you put into the job."

Johnson, who filled in after the departure of former Chief Adolph Zubia last fall, had his last day on Friday.

"You just have a wonderful group of people," Johnson told the board Thursday night. "You have a 'make it happen' attitude."

Johnson's duties will be taken over by newly promoted interim division chiefs Jim Turner and Jerry Funk. Funk and Turner were promoted temporarily from battalion chiefs in order to fill in while the district and cooperating fire agencies in a new joint operating agreement search for a new chief.

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On Thursday, the board approved a transfer of $46,000 from the battalion chiefs' budget and $14,000 from the chief's budget to cover the $60,000 discrepancy in the salary levels between battalion chiefs and division chiefs.

Board President Warren Knox, who is working on the new chief recruitment along with Pennington, said he attended a March 12 meeting of officials involved in the newly approved Joint Operating Agreement with Consolidated. Those include fire departments in Nevada City and Grass Valley and Penn Valley Fire Protection District. The meeting was to confirm their interest in hiring one chief to serve the JOA, he said.

Knox said the four parties to the JOA agreed to hold their first meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday April 9 at the county's Rood Center in Nevada City. In addition, invitations will be sent to all other area fire agencies who may attend as nonvoting participants.

"It was mutually and unanimously agreed that valuable knowledge, perspective and experience … was available from fire agencies not presently in a position to … participate in a joint operation of this type," Knox said. "To that end, the four principals to the talks agreed that any agency wishing to participate as a nonvoting party to these discussions was welcome and encouraged to do so."

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email or call 530-477-4239.

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