April 9, 2024 |

Photo – John Rutherford – Bigfoot99 file photo

Carbon County officials must decide if the fire warden should also serve as the chief of the newly established fire protection district.

During the November 2022 elections, Carbon County residents voted to establish a fire protection district to serve the unincorporated areas of the county. Since that time, Carbon County Fire Warden John Rutherford and others have been working to create the brand-new taxpayer funded agency.

As the Carbon County Fire Protection District draws closer to responding to its first emergency, the question was brought up of who will lead the new organization. Could and should the county fire warden act as the chief of the fire protection district and fulfill his county obligations?

During the April 2nd Board of Carbon County commissioners meeting, Fire Warden John Rutherford explained some of his duties as the county’s fire warden.

Rutherford said the fire protection district will need someone who can interact with every municipal fire station in the county. Rutherford said he already fills that role as the county fire warden.

Rutherford asked the board if they would like him to exclusively serve the county or split his time with the fire protection district. Rutherford said when he was chosen to be Carbon County’s fire warden, he was still working for the Rawlins Fire Department. The county fire warden said he can serve the county and the fire protection district at the same time.

Rutherford said the board has three options. The fire warden said his position can remain separate from the fire protection district, the board can have the fire protection chief, whoever that may be, act as county fire warden, or Rutherford can serve as both, a the part-time county fire warden and full-time chief of the fire protection district.

Commission Chairwoman Sue Jones said the board will consider the fire warden’s proposal and make a decision during the upcoming budget talks.

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