James Johnson: Wheat Ridge Fire Protection Board Candidate

We have interviewed candidates for the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District Board. The City of Edgewater is part of the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District. The election deadline is coming up on May 6, 2014. This election is all mail-in. For a full list of the board candidates and Ballot Issue A, click here.

Leonard (Lenny) Ortiz Interview

Robert “Kent” Johnson Interview

Monica Duran Interview

Ronald “Ron” Benson Interview

Today we are interviewing James “Jim” Johnson, who is a candidate for the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District Board.

Why are you running for the WRFPD Board? 

I am a retired Wheat Ridge firefighter of 15 years. I do not want to give up being a part of this department and want this department to become something bigger and better as time goes on.

In your opinion, what caused the financial crisis the WRFPD is currently facing? 

All the increase of expenses the department has had with the hiring of personnel we never had in the past years. And the decrease in the property taxes. The grant money that WRFPD was awarded have run out. Our trucks have become old and maintenance has become more costly. Our income has dropped with expiration of grants and lower taxes coming in.

What options does the Fire District have if the mill levy is not passed? 

Personnel reduction and/or possibly merging with a neighboring fire district.

What are the immediate changes, if any, would you like to see in the how the District functions?

I feel we as a board have made some correct movements with hiring of the new chief and financial services.

Where do you see the WRFPD in five years, and how will it get there?  

With this mill levy passing, we will still be offering excellent fire & EMS services to the citizens of the district And we hope to have a new fire station as promised to the Edgewater residents.

4 Comments on "James Johnson: Wheat Ridge Fire Protection Board Candidate"

  1. Lenny Ortiz | Apr 13, 2014 at 1:26 am | Reply

    Mr Johnson….

    Sir, I so appreciate your service to our community, especially as a volunteer member and as a board member. However Sir…I do have issue with your service on the board and your commentary above.

    1. “Old soldiers never die…they just fade away”. It is time to let new citizens manage the district. WRFPD will never be “bigger and better” due to the management of the agency over the past five years.

    2. The fact the board allowed the past chief ” carte blanche” of the district is wrong. Gillespie and the board ruined the district. The grants ran out…however WRFPD kept spending as if they were guaranteed. As for a professional department…. currently only the “officers” of the department are “professional”. The firefighters are paid minimum wage with no benefits. The last time I was paid minimum wage… I worked at a gas station in the 1980’s and was on my parents medical insurance. Lower tax revenue and an older fleet is no excuse for what has transpired.

    3. Reduction in force? Who do you plan to cut? The full time officers or the already “underpaid” firefighters of the department? WRFD ran most or all of the volunteer force off. The only option is if the tax increase passes, Cassle and Willis resign and you Sir, either drop out of the campaign and if elected, resign.

    4. The board has made NO corrective measures. A new money monitor that reports to the chief and the board is needed. According to the bylaws, a district manager is required. Name the last district manager?

    5. WRFPD will not survive even with the tax increase, unless there is a new board in place that is willing to “save a sinking ship”. WRFD does not provide EMS, the city of Wheat Ridge does by virtue of a contact ambulance. Yes WRFD does run on EMS calls but only as backup. “Hope” that Edgewater will get a station..that was no was “promised” by the district or the board, which Sir, you were a member of.

  2. John Moreno | Apr 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Reply

    Lenny,

    You ask for Liz Willis to resign but as I understand she will be replaced at this next election and chose not to rerun. Am I wrong?

    • Lenny Ortiz | Apr 17, 2014 at 2:34 am | Reply

      John the only “open” spots are Benson and the Johnson’s. Willis and Cassel are up in two years.

  3. William Bossert | Apr 19, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Reply

    Jim Johnson – you told me this morning at the “Meet The Candidate” affair that you DID NOT say that you “hoped” Edgewater would get a fire station when I asked you about that statement. I just re-read your comments in the interview section which clearly stated: “And we hope to have a new fire station as promised to the Edgewater residents”. ?????? Specifically stating in 2012 that a new fire station WILL be provided to Edgewater within 5 years after the agreement was signed and now in 2014 saying you “HOPE” it will happen are totally different perspectives, are they not?

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