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Fire district hires aide for chief

A former employee was hired to fill a position created after Curry resigned.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:10 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

A former bookkeeper for the Boone County Fire Protection District was hired last month as executive assistant to Chief Steve Paulsell, the president of the Fire Protection District’s board of directors said Monday.

Shawna Scholl will help handle some of the workload created by the resignation of Assistant Fire Chief Sharon Curry.

The position is one of two that the fire district board of directors created after Curry’s departure in February. Board President John Gordon said the duties of the second position are still being defined.

“I don’t know what (the position) will be,” he said. “But we’re trying to save money.”

The fire district will pay Scholl $41,000 per year. Curry’s salary, by comparison, was about $93,000. The fire district also awarded Curry about $58,000 in settlement money after a sexual harassment lawsuit.

More than 40 people applied for the executive assistant position. Paulsell and consultant Robert Scribner of the Columbia-based business consulting firm Executive Advantage reviewed the candidates’ credentials. After two rounds of interviews, they presented the board of directors with a list of qualified candidates.

“The recommendations were brought to the board, and we listened to what Paulsell said, and then we told the fire chief to hire one of them,” Gordon said.

Board member Shelly Dometrorch said that as executive assistant, Scholl’s duties include regular office work, and maintenance of personnel files and health benefits for everyone who works for the fire district.

“This is all sort of evolving because it is a new position, so there may be some tweaking that is done,” she said.

Attempts to reach Scholl were unsuccessful. Calls for interviews were redirected to Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp, the fire district’s spokesman.

Fire district board members and district officials held a closed meeting on Monday at Dave Grigg’s flooring company in Columbia. The board met with Kent Brown, an attorney hired by the district’s insurance company to provide legal defense for the district in two civil lawsuits.

Former Assistant Chief Bruce Piringer is suing the fire district for alleged violations of his right to free speech, and an emergency medical worker for a local ambulance company sued the fire district over accusations that a volunteer firefighter sexually assaulted her while she was training at one of the district’s stations.

Dometrorch said the alleged victim’s lawsuit was among the topics of the meeting, but she would not comment further.


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