Meet your Fire Board Candidates
April 27, 2023
I have lived in Seeley Lake since 2019, came to Montana from Eastern Oregon in December 1989 for a job.
This is my first time running for a public board in Seeley Lake, but I have served on the Kalispell Pee Wee Baseball Board and Libby School Board.
My husband, Quinn Carver, is the Seeley Lake District Ranger. His job brought us to Seeley Lake.
I enjoy being outdoors, kayaking, walking/hiking and reading.
I have experience with collections, reading and creating budgets, payroll, and accounts payable and receivables. I worked in the insurance industry, mostly in commercial lines for 18 years. I understand insurance terms and forms. These skills will be helpful as a board member. I listen and ask questions. As a caregiver I learned to navigate the insurance world from the other side and gained a different perspective.
I am not sure what changes need to be addressed. I have heard lots of rumor and innuendo but know from being on past boards reality can be different. Some of the rumors might indeed be genuine issues. Some perceived issues may simply be a result of lack of transparency from the current board.
The transparency issue also may just be misunderstanding of the open meeting law. Montana, fortunately for the taxpayers, has very "open" meeting laws.
There are very few reasons for a public entity to call for executive sessions.
When I was on other boards the importance of refraining from any discussion of agenda items outside of the meeting was stressed frequently by leadership. We didn't even have email chains regarding agenda items. The agenda items, budget, invoices to be paid were reviewed and discussed as a board at the public meeting for transparency.
I believe all board discussions should take place in a public setting and allow for public comment. The community needs to be aware so they can support the district. Knowledge is power.
In a small rural community this task is difficult since board members tend to frequent the same establishments and even be friends who socialize together.
I do feel that a closer look at the budget is necessary.
I feel that rising costs make creating a budget challenging at this time but feel it is important to work with a budget based on known tax revenue. The income from calls (which can't be predicted from one year to another) should be used to build reserves and purchase equipment, and make upgrades as necessary.
Scott Kennedy - INCUMBANT
I've been a Seeley Lake resident for 26 years. My hobbies include boating, fly-fishing, golfing, camping, traveling, most importantly giving back to the community first.
I am seeking my seventh term on the Fire District board. I have 40 years of fire service, 25 years Chief Officer. 24 years as a FIRE/MEDICAL volunteer in Seeley Lake, prior Seeley Lake Assistant Chief/Deputy Chief. Training- Emergency Medical Technician, PHTLS-Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support, PEARS-Pediatric Emergency Assessment Recognition and Stabilization, CPR, EKG 12 lead, Medication, Monitor, Narcan, NFPA-FF level 3 State Fire College, State Advance Extrication Specialist, High Angle Rescue, Advanced Swift Water Rescue, Cave Rescue, Wildlands Fire, Officer 3, FEMA-100, 200, 208, 520, 522, 547A, 700A, 800A, IS-05, 07, 007, NFPA-1021, 1001(3), 1001, State HAZMAT, Avalanche training. Prior Liaison Officer to Type 1 Incident Team. Familiarity with large incidents and structuring of OPS. Seeley Lake Community Foundation board member 10 years and prior treasurer. RMEF Benefactor. Current Real Estate Broker 35 years' experience. Other- NASA design engineering Space Shuttle Processing, Owned Real Estate Co., Lodge, construction company, VP Aquatic Farms Marine Research facility.
Future goals and things currently in progress: 1) Maintain UNITY within the department. Accomplished by focused hiring-vetting process.
2) No mill levy rate increase. No further taxes. Accomplished by continuing streamlining and good administration with board governance. Leveraging current District assets if necessary for replacement apparatus or expenses, seeking Grants.
3) Continue Increasing fire and medical services and replacing, updating equipment, continue offering advanced training and schooling.
4) Continue with advancements as a COMBINATION department
5) Reduce fire response time, continue having station staffed during peak hours.
6) 24 hour Advanced Life Support/Paramedics available on ALL calls. Maintaining 3-4 Paramedics, volunteers or paid.
7) Provide additional incentives to volunteers and staff longevity retention.
8) Increase awareness with adjoining fire districts, disaster preparation and Mutual Aid.
9) Increase volunteers, FF and EMT's.
10) Station upgrades.
Upcoming challenges noted above. Replace aging equipment for both fire and medical. Updating, planning, applying for grants. Budgeting fiscal oversite. Planning-leveraging district owned real estate assets if necessary. As a Broker, knowledge in investments, budgets, negotiations and financial matters. Financially strong balance and asset sheet. District Real Estate investment and cash on hand, near 1 million.
The biggest challenges a few still attempt to impede progress, promoting negative false perceptions by self-interest groups. My opponent comes to 3 meetings, and is opposed to increasing services and fees. She listens to inuendo's and rumors as she stated without a plan. The department has overcome such issues and is making significant progress. To grow, there will be more change and advancements in growing personnel and staff. This requires expertise and onward positive movement. The forward motion in our district has been quite substantial and is in GOOD order.
I want to give my sincere appreciation to all personnel. We have 32 personnel, encompassed by 4 paid staff, 22 volunteer Fire Fighters, 8 EMT's 2 are Paramedics with a third Paramedic completing school in July, a 4th candidate next year, and 6 auxiliary members.
My passion, commitment with life-long continuity continues in supporting the Seeley Lake Rural Fire District and our constituents.
Rita Rossi- INCUMBENT
I have been with the Department since 2001.
I started as a firefighter but expanded my interests to also becoming an EMT in 2002. I continue to work at being a good firefighter and EMT.
I volunteer because I want to help people, and find satisfaction in knowing I'm out there for the community doing what I can to make a difference.
I have also worked in the capacity of being a caregiver for several people in the community. When I say if there's anything I can do to help you - I stand by that.
Sometimes it's the little things people need help with, and it means a lot.
Volunteering on a fire department takes a lot of commitment. It takes hours of training, being up all hours of the night sometimes and taking care of the sick and injured. It takes courage, strength, structure and discipline.
We are watching out for our safety and the safety of those we are trying to help.
We are under protocols through state and federal regulations and sometimes what we do doesn't make sense to the public. We also work under a medical director.
Volunteering is rewarding and it's the many people of the community who come together whether in this capacity or just helping out a neighbor that makes a great community. Sometimes just listening to someone who needs to talk can bring a person up from a depression.
Without volunteers some people would be helpless in a time of need. Volunteering brings many minds together to come up with better ideas to meet a common goal.
Regarding declining volunteers - I think people are busy trying to survive by working. People aren't as physical as they used to be. (Not all) Our community is small and has a lot of retired people. The retired people are ready to settle down not wanting to start a new career.