Monica Duran: 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

James “Jim” Johnson Interview

Ronald “Ron” Benson Interview

Today we are interviewing Monica Duran, who is a candidate for the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District Board.

Why are you running for the WRFPD Board?

I am running for the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection Board because I believe in our fire fighters, their sacrifices, the citizens and the community they serve.

I believe public safety and the noble services provided by our Firefighters need the support of our community.  As someone heavily involved in the community, I believe my experience, skills and talents can be used to help protect and further these goals.

I have worked with a diverse group of community leaders and working families.  I want to help facilitate communication, problem-solving and tenacity in fighting for the district’s goals and needs.

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

There are many factors –

1) Rising costs for services
2) Transitioning from a volunteer to combination volunteer/paid department
3) Lack of building a financial model to meet our changing needs

Were there other factors that put us where we are today? Definitely.
A lot of tough lessons have been learned and it is time to move forward with some real solutions.

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

The number one thing to happen is there will be budget cuts, which would include layoffs of operational staff, closure of a station, loss of an apparatus and longer response time, to name a few.  The possibility of a merger with another fire district would most likely occur.

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

I would like to see a strong working relationship between the Board, District, and Labor with strong communication and problem solving at the forefront.

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

I am supporting the mill levy increase.  With new leadership , and a board that is willing to foster transparency, accountability and citizen involvement, we can become a financially stable department  as we move forward. I would like to see us,

1) Define our mission, goals, objectives and priorities
2) Develop new revenue resources to meet our needs
3) Improve salaries, benefits and pensions
4) Improve our training systems and career advancement opportunities
5) Develop a schedule for apparatus, vehicle and equipment replacement and repair
6) Develop short and long term capital as well as an operating plan for anticipated future needs
7) Assure we have a 10-15% cash reserve
8) The creation of a mentoring program within the department

The bottom line is the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District has a lot of positive things going for it.  I don’t want that being diminished by what has happened in the past. We have firefighters who are willing to give their life if it means saving ours – every day. They are the ambassadors of our community.

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