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Officials take up fire service, MSBUs, an event, and severance

Sep 1st, 2011 | 0

By DOTTY NIST

Walton County Fire Rescue Emergency Services personnel received thanks for their efforts at the Aug. 23 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting.

Walton County Support Services Director Brady Bearden announced that on Aug. 8, Walton County Fire Rescue Emergency Services had successfully passed an inspection by the Florida Department of Health. Brian Coley, county fire services chief, also announced that, thanks to Ron Prokrop, volunteer coordinator, 17 volunteers had been recruited for the department. Coley reported that the department’s largest training class ever had recently been conducted.

Walton County Fire Rescue serves the areas of the county outside of the municipalities and independent fire districts.

“We thank you for all you’re doing,” said District 4 Commissioner Sara Comander.

Approved at the Aug. 23 meeting was the renewal of a contract with the South Walton Fire District (SWFD) providing for the SWFD to continue furnishing emergency medical services in the area south of the Choctawhatchee Bay, as has been the case since 2001. County Administrator Greg Kisela told the commissioners that the contract would be at the same rate as for the 2010-11 fiscal year. He recommended approval of the contract.

The five-year contract provides for a $652,386 payment by the county to the SWFD for the services in the first year, with the annual amount to be adjusted by between 2 and 4 percent each successive year “in an amount necessary to properly conpensate SWFD for changes in their direct costs based on the change in the Consumer Price Index….”

At the request of Andy Kennedy of Multisport Fitness, L.L.C., the commissioners approved a roadway event application for the Blue Mountain Beach Half Marathon & 10K, which is scheduled for Oct. 16. Kennedy said volunteers from the Boy Scouts, schools, and civic groups, along with marathon “core volunteers” would be utilized to monitor the event.

Renewals of Municipal Service Benefit Units (MSBUs) were approved for three areas, the Daughette Canal, Four Mile Village, and Imperial Lakes, and the MSBU for fire services in the uncorporated areas outside of the independent fire districts was approved. All special assessments were approved at no increase in rates.

District 2 Commissioner Kenneth Pridgen brought up the matter of severance packages. At the time of Kisela’s hiring in spring 2011, a severance package was approved as part of his employment agreement. Three county positions, those of county administrator, county attorney, and tourist development council director, are filled by vote of the BCC rather than through Walton County Support Services. These are employees who serve at the pleasure of the commissioners and may be terminated by the BCC at any time, with or without cause.

Pridgen suggested that the BCC look at establishing agreements for severance packages for the two other positions, in line with the one in place for Kisela, in the interest of fairness.

Kisela agreed to have the county’s labor counsel draw up proposed agreements for implementing the severance packages and bring the proposed agreements before the BCC for consideration within 30 days.

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