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Central Valley Fire Assistant Chief responds to firing

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 13 2013 10:45:47 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 10:46:52 PM MST
Central Valley Fire Assistan Chief responds to firing
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Central Valley Fire Chief Ron Lindroth spent months studying the department before suggesting the changes.

In his analysis, he calls for hiring two full-time fire fighters, so the station can upgrade to 24/7 career staffing.

Right now, there is no coverage from five to seven pm, aside from a career oversight officer and on-call paramedic.

But to help pay their salaries, the plan cuts the Assistant Chief HR position, currently held by Brian Crandell.

In January, the board assembled a review committee to look over the analysis and answer a number of questions pertaining to the plan.

They came back to the board on Tuesday, and recommended the board go forward with the analysis.

Board Vice Chairman Gil Moore, who served on the committee, said he thinks it's best for efficiency.

"The elimination of the Assistant Chief HR position was done to be more fiscally responsible" he said. "The dollars that it cost to pay up that person or that position can almost pay for two fire fighters."

We sat down with Crandell on Wednesday evening. He said the termination of his position was not an action item on the board's agenda, and said they fired him without even talking to him first.

Crandell said no one in the department or on the board told him ahead of time that his job could be eliminated right at the meeting.

And, he said he wasn't able to waive his right to privacy before they made the decision.

So he's weighing his options.

"My family and I are assessing the situation and evaluating all of our options" he said. "We're really very grateful for the support that we continue to receive from the community as well as the fire fighters at Belgrade Central Valley Fire."

Moore said they gave Crandell a termination agreement that includes severance pay, and that he has 20 days to sign it. He said the department is moving forward to begin implementing the changes very soon.