Aspen Fire Department to elect new chief |

Aspen Fire Department to elect new chief

Chadwick Bowman
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen Fire Department volunteers will elect a new fire chief Wednesday after going months since the resignation of longtime chief Darryl Grob.

The volunteers “want a leader to guide the principles of the organization forward, based on the volunteers’ values and history,” said Jack Simmons, a firefighter and the district’s board president.

There are 36 active members in the body of volunteers who have a vote in the election, according to Simmons. Majority rules, with one vote more than 50 percent needed to determine the new chief.

Voters will decide among two nominees: acting Fire Chief Rick Balentine, and volunteer firefighter Willard Clapper. Simmons said both men are experienced and work well with the volunteers.

The new fire chief position will be unpaid, a change instituted after Grob resigned in November 2010. Grob, who had been in the position since 1994, left after support from the volunteers waned.

Despite the salary change, for the new chief, many of the duties will remain the same, including coordinating volunteers and running the fire grounds.

Simmons says the fire chief can expect to work around 20 hours a week, mostly depending on the week and the task load.

Handling most administrative duties will be a chief executive officer, a paid position. All indications show that Ed VanWalraven, current fire marshal, will manage that position.

Under the most current format, there are five paid positions within the department and one contracted position. All others are volunteers.

The election takes place at 6 p.m. Absentee balloting is available for those members unable to attend.

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