Coalville mayor responds to ‘insubordination’ in North Summit Fire District

Feb 7, 2022, 5:05 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:59 pm

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — County and city leaders were set to meet Monday night, after Summit County suspended service from the North Summit Fire District, following “insubordination” and “dereliction of duty” from firefighters.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting with the Administrative Control Board that oversees NSFD, Coalville Mayor Mark Marsh said his main concern is ensuring there is fire coverage for his growing city.

“I would prefer my own firefighters and my own people in my own community to do it. But if we can’t do it that way, we’ve got to ask for help outside,” Marsh said.

The Park City Fire District is currently responding to the calls from North Summit. The county has said that is temporary.

Marsh wants to see them man the fire station in his city so they will be closer when the call comes in.

Marsh — who worked as a volunteer for NSFD for 17 years — said firefighters have issues that they feel are not being addressed. But he doesn’t agree with the way they are handling it.

“I would think if you’ve committed to take a shift and you’re being paid for it, then, yeah, you should take it,” he said, agreeing with the county that not responding is insubordination.

“I hope they can make maybe a little better stand on why they feel like they’re not being heard than putting people’s lives in jeopardy.

Still, Marsh says this is a different situation than if it were a full-time fire department.

“It’s kind of a hybrid system. It’s volunteer. And volunteers, you never turn down volunteers, and volunteers are sometimes under a different umbrella than full-time firefighters who, that’s your job. You signed a contract.”

County manager Tom Fisher told KSL on Sunday that the “insubordination” and “dereliction of duty” from firefighters in North Summit runs deeper than last week’s incident when a firefighter chose not to respond to a call for help.

Fisher said there was “an organized effort from some firefighters to not pick up shifts.” He noted that they did so because of “some level of grievance.”

Fisher also confirmed with KSL that the firing of NSFD’s chief in November is related to the current situation at the fire district, though he said he could not go into detail.

Park Record reports that some firefighters were angry the chief had been fired.

Mayor Kay Richins of Henefer agreed that the way firefighters have responded recently is not the way to handle their concerns.

Richins noted that an additional complaint is that EMS, or emergency medical services, that used to run out of North Summit was moved to the Park City Fire District. He believes that move may have impacted response times for calls in North Summit and he would like to see those services return to his area.

Monday’s meeting is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the county courthouse in Coalville. It will include public comment. Organizers on a Coalville Facebook group urged residents to arrive early to rally in support of the firefighters in question.

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Coalville mayor responds to ‘insubordination’ in North Summit Fire District