RIMROCK – The Camp Verde and Montezuma-Rimrock fire boards have unanimously selected Brandi Bateman, Steve Darby, Carol Keeton, Justin Largent and Linda Welsch to be the first governing board of the Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District.
Although the Camp Verde and Montezuma-Rimrock fire boards each voted separately, Monday’s dialog was a collective, as the board discussed the benefits of members experienced as firefighters, as well as members who brought other experiences to the collective.
Those differences in background, said Copper Canyon Engineer Josh Good, “makes for a healthy board.”
“It’s a good direction to go for the new district,” Good said.
Keeton is clerk of the Copper Canyon Fire and Medical Authority that was formed out of a Joint Powers Agreement in July 2016 from the Camp Verde and Montezuma-Rimrock fire boards. Keeton told her fellow board members that she didn’t come from a fire service background.
“But I think a community service background is just as important,” Keeton said.
The fire boards held two meetings on Monday. At 9 a.m., the Camp Verde and Montezuma-Rimrock fire boards met to select the new district’s board. At 9:45 a.m., the new Copper Canyon Fire Board agreed that the new fire district should be called the Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District.
The new board then selected Welsch as chairperson and Keeton as clerk.
With the naming of the new district, Copper Canyon Fire and Medical District will officially commence on January 2.
Fire District Attorney Bill Whittington reminded the two boards in the joint meeting that neither of the two boards – Camp Verde and Montezuma-Rimrock – could have more than three representatives on that first board.
Whittington also told the boards that they must consider the next two election years – 2020 and 2022 – and not have more than three members with a term to expire on a given election year.
“Each board needs to have dialog,” Whittington said before the vetting process began. “Then each board needs to approve the five new members.”
The terms of Keeton and Welsch will end in 2020. Keeton has served on the Montezuma-Rimrock Fire Board and Welsch on the Camp Verde Fire Board.
The terms of Bateman, Darby and Largent will end in 2022. Bateman has served on the Montezuma-Rimrock Fire Board and both Darby and Largent on the Camp Verde Fire Board.
With the exception of Robbie Satran, Dave Curtis and George Kleindienst, all fire board members stated that they wanted to serve on the new fire board.
Satran chose to not return to the Montezuma-Rimrock Fire Board, and Curtis did not seek a return to the Camp Verde Fire Board.
Kleindienst recently resigned because his family is moving to Tucson.
“I am proud of all we have done in the past five years, beginning with hiring Terry Keller as our shared chief, to forming Copper Canyon Fire and Medical Authority, to the merger vote, to selecting the new [district’s fire] board today,” Kleindienst said.
Part of the Authority’s inaugural fire board, Kleindienst was first appointed to the Camp Verde Fire Board in April 2011, then was named the board’s chairperson in December 2014.
Kleindienst has been the Copper Canyon Fire Board’s only chairperson.
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42