Election 2010: Interview with Truckee Fire candidate Paul Wilford | SierraSun.com

Election 2010: Interview with Truckee Fire candidate Paul Wilford

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Truckee Fire Protection District Board of Directors has been getting a lot of attention over the last few months, and looking to the November election, a handful of new candidates too.

Below is a recap of a recent interview with Wilford:

Wilford has served 27 years as a firefighter in Verdi and#8212; 25 of the those years working as a station captain. He said he decided to run for the Truckee fire board to bring more transparency to the district while maintaining its fiscal responsibilities and dedication to forest fuels management.

Now retired and accompanied by his wife and a son and#8212; a senior at Truckee High School and#8212; Wilford said he hopes to be a part of 2011’s new board and already has ideas to help the district.

and#8220;I would like to see Truckee Fire expand in fuels management,and#8221; Wilford said. and#8220;The biggest insurance losses Truckee would face would be from a really large hazardous materials incident or a wildland fire.and#8221;

While hazardous materials accidents cannot be prevented, Wilford said fire can be, and that’s where Truckee can make significant gains in fire safety.

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Reflecting on the past summer, Wilford said the board’s communication challenges and the controversial decision to put former Chief Bryce Keller on paid leave has to be looked at for lessons to be learned; yet, ultimately, he said it’s time to move on, especially as the new board is tasked with choosing Keller’s successor.

and#8220;The board is going to be getting into a mode where the it’s essentially picking an individual who is going to be with department for quite a while to come,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I’ve sat on hiring boards in the past. It’s going to be a critical undertaking for the board fresh out of the gate, so it’s a pretty daunting task.and#8221;

Another concern Wilford has is keeping the district financially secure so firefighters and staff don’t have to worry about job security or stability within the district.

and#8220;Moral wise, naturally, finances affect people very dramatically and#8212; if you think you could lose your job or your benefits and you have a family to support and a house payment or if you’re not sure your salary will increase in future years,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I think we just have to be willing to look at future draw downs, that this might be as good as its going to get for awhile.and#8221;

Other challenges await, too, Wilford said.

and#8220;A lot of the issues confronting Truckee Fire as far as their growth issues and things they’re going to be looking at as far as talks of consolidation, going union or not, are all battles I’ve fought coming up through the fire service,and#8221; Wilford said. and#8220;I think I can speak with experience if some battles are worth fighting or not.and#8221;