Friday, January 19, 2018

Sheriff slams commissioners for hostile greeting at fire meeting

Stillwater County Sheriff Cliff Brophy is not happy about the greeting local fire chiefs received at a meeting recently.
Last month, in response to a red flag weather warning and pending evacuation resolutions regarding the Pine Crest Fire, commissioners and Brophy agreed to meet. Brophy invited Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger, Columbus Battalion Chief Nick Jacobs and Park City Fire Chief Park City Volunteer Rural Fire District Bryan Bartholmew to “facilitate the exchange of information and decisions that needed to be made,” Brophy wrote in a letter to the commissioners dated April 29.
“As they entered, Commissioner Davey pointed her finger at them and held up her hand and brashly stated ‘this does not concern you’,” Brophy stated in the letter.
“I am at a loss of words why an elected official would confront someone from walking into a public office, during a public meeting and indicate to fire personnel that fire issues do not concern them,” Brophy wrote. “I am deeply offended at the treatment of our responders by the Stillwater Commissioners.”
Commissioner Maureen Davey did not respond for comment by press time.
Brophy also referenced a separate meeting requested by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DRNC) with the commissioners. Although Brophy does not detail what took place during that meeting, he offered an overall summary and conclusion.
“During the meeting, it was quite evident that Stillwater County was not going to participate on a local level on fixing fences and repairing damage that were done by the county or county agents. This damage was a necessary action is suppressing the fire in the Pine Crest subdivision and the surrounding area. It has always been my understanding that the county would make reasonable efforts to repair damage caused by the county and its agents during fire suppression. It has also been my understanding that this has been the practice in previous incidents,” wrote Brophy.
He then sought the following clarification:
“Are we now limiting who is invited to public meetings specifically those that have a vested interest in emergency operations?”
“Is the county now changing its emergency operations procedures or modifying them to hold the position that we are no longer fixing damages caused by the county or its agents during the course of business in responding to disasters and emergencies?”