No conclusions from equal opportunity investigation | AspenTimes.com

No conclusions from equal opportunity investigation

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

A notice from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that it could not conclude that the Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District violated any laws when it dismissed a firefighter with a learning disability.

Shawn Foster filed a discrimination complaint with the commission after being terminated by the Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District.

The commission sent a dismissal and notice of rights to Foster on Aug. 30, saying that it couldn't conclude there were violations of any statutes, although that doesn't mean the district was not at fault.

"Based upon its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes," the notice said. "This does not certify that the respondent (Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District) is in compliance with the statutes.

"No finding is made as to any other issues that might be construed as having been raised by this charge."

Foster has the right to file a lawsuit against the district based on the charge, but it must be filed within 90 days, or the right is lost, the notice says.

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Interim Chief John Mele relayed the contents of the notice to the district board of directors at its meeting Sept. 24.

Other items discussed include the following:

The district received more than 60 applications for the position of fire chief by the Sept. 18 deadline. Directors Irene Greiser and Brian Olson said they would represent the board in a meeting with the selection committee next week and would look over the applications before then.

Two resident firefighters have resigned, and one full-time firefighter/paramedic has requested a leave of absence. The district received more than 90 applications for positions already open, so the district expects to fill all its openings, Mele said. Five open positions plus the chief job were included on a draft 2014 budget presented at the meeting.

Glenwood Springs-based engineering firm Schmueser, Gordon and Meyer submitted plans for connecting the floor drains under the truck washing area at the fire station to Snowmass sewer lines. The district had wanted to include structural repairs to some foundation issues at the building with the drain work, but it is unlikely that could be completed in a similar amount of time, Mele told the board. The district will issue a request for proposals and attempt to redirect the drains this fall.

The district has hired Vail-based Fisher Consulting Group to help resolve some workplace issues. The board interviewed consultant Caroline Fisher and another candidate at its last meeting. Fisher has scheduled a workshop for the district employees in December. Olson said he thinks the board should attend the class even if it cannot actively participate.

"I think it shows solidarity with the whole organization," Olson said.

The board's next meeting is Oct. 29.

jbeathard@snowmasssun.com

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