The race to replace longtime Boone County Fire Protection District Board member Myrtle Rapp is being seen as a competition for control over the board, which one candidate said has been far too influenced by Fire Chief Steve Paulsell.
Shelly Dometrorch, 46, a former lieutenant with the Boone County Sheriff’s department and the wife of a former firefighter, said the board needs to be expanded and take back control of the district. She said that too often it has been a rubber stamp for Paulsell’s decisions.
Don Farris, 68, said he has known Paulsell for a long time and respects his accomplishments building the agency. But he said he also wants to see the board expanded from three to five members to get a wider variety of opinion on subjects that come before it.
The candidates agree on one hot topic important to taxpayers: They want the salaries of top administrators to be reduced. Farris said specifically that he will study what other fire chiefs earn, but he’d like to reduce the salaries of the five district administrators who earn more than $90,000 per year. They are Paulsell, Deputy Chief Jeff Scott and assistant chiefs Ken Hines, Scott Olsen and Sharon Curry. According to fire district records, Paulsell makes $177,058, Scott makes $98,699, Hines and Olsen make $95,874 and Curry makes $92,756.
Farris, who is part owner of a lumberyard and has served on numerous boards, said he will put his business acumen to work if elected.
Both Dometrorch and Farris said they think the Fire District should remain a volunteer organization. Both said that while the district has had problems, they admire it and hope to help it become stronger.