At the March 18 county commissioner meeting, Fire Warden Ron Brown “stood down” as Carbon County Fire Warden, without public comment.
Brown was on the agenda of the meeting to seek approval of his department’s 2021 Annual Operating Plan, but was not present at that meeting. No explanation was given for his absence.
At the end of the regular meeting, commissioners went into Executive Session to discuss personnel and legal matters. Upon returning from this session, Commissioner Travis Moore offered no explanation yet made a motion to designate Commission Chair member John Johnson and Commissioner John Espy to appoint an Interim Fire Warden. This motion was approved unanimously with no discussion; Commissioner Byron Barkhurst was absent from this meeting.
There is not an Assistant Fire Warden or other full-time staff to cover this department with this sudden resignation. Commissioner John Espy was asked how this highly specialized responsibility will be covered with Brown gone so suddenly.
“We are looking for someone to step up for the short term,” Espy said.
In after meeting comments, Brown issued an email.
“I stood down (as County Fire Warden on March 18) in the morning,” he stated. “The decision to step down was of a personal nature. This was a difficult decision to make. My family always comes first and the position I held I felt was taking too much away from that.
“It truly was an honor to serve in the capacity of County Fire Warden, particularly during the biggest fire year that we have seen, not only with the Mullen fire, but also the 316 fire near Hanna.”
Brown was also in a leadership role for the large fire in the Pedro Mountain area in August of 2019.
“I was pleased to be in command and be a part of the progress within the fire service here in Carbon County,” he continued. “I truly hope that what I have accomplished will not only benefit the residents of Carbon County but the firefighter’s that serve as well.
“My passion for the fire service has and will always be strong. My intention is to continue to stay in and be of service at some capacity.”
The County Fire Department budget for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year was $456,171.02, with 20 line items. The Fire Warden is the only full-time employee noted in this budget and salary is listed at $65,000.
The first line item on this budget is $100,000 and is for “Fire Personnel Volunteer Firemen.” The precise personnel structure of this county department is not readily available. This money is apparently used to compensate volunteer fire personnel when they assist the Fire Warden with fire problems in the nearly 8,000-square-miles of this county.
INTERESTED IN APPLYING?
Carbon County’s official website has the Interim Fire Warden job prominently displayed. It is listed as a part time job under 30 hours a week, with an hourly pay rate of $23 to $30 dollars per hour, depending on experience.
There is an extensive two-page listing of the qualifications for this part time job. One paragraph lists the “Minimum Qualifications” of education and licenses required to be considered. These include being a certified Fire Officer in Wyoming.