Snowmass fire district staff set to meet after complaints about chief |

Snowmass fire district staff set to meet after complaints about chief

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun
Aspen, CO, Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – The Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District board of directors met in executive session Tuesday to review complaints filed by firefighters regarding Chief Steven Sowles.

In a statement following the session, Bill Boineau, acting as board president, made a statement from the board saying that it “reviewed the written statement making certain complaints” and deemed that the statement “does not fit within the (district’s) formal grievance procedure.”

However, Boineau said the directors want “to hear from our staff,” so a meeting will be scheduled with staff when at least one board member can be present.

Some members of the district filed two grievances with the board of directors last month. Attempts by The Aspen Times to view the documents were denied by Boineau, who cited a clause in the district’s grievance policy that states “the grievance shall be kept in confidence at each level to allow due process.”

Firefighter Jacob Heal, representing the Snowmass Firefighters Union, also denied the request, saying, “At this time, the firefighters are attempting to address any issues internally.”

Heal said the union is not officially recognized by the board or the district, and it does not have collective-bargaining authority.

Grievances relating to the chief are filed directly with the board, Fire Marshal John Mele said.

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