This is an election year for many agencies and entities and fire districts are included. Two fire boards have more candidates running than seats available: Central Yavapai Fire District and the Groom Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
Here is an introduction to the candidates for each district.
CYFD has four candidates vying for three seats.
• Michael Clesceri, 41, of Prescott Valley who has lived in the district five years.
What qualifications do you bring to the board? As a business owner providing web solutions all over the world, I have a business background with project management, budgeting and “out of the box” ideas and solutions. This aligns well with what I believe the fire board needs as a candidate. I do have firefighting experience, but this is not really a valid qualification when you have great men and women operating the fire district and providing a high level of customer service.
What is the most pressing issue facing the district? Managing the growth, budget and the operations of the fire district, while at the same time having a capital reserve savings. The current fireboard has been proactive to protect both the fire district and the taxpayer, and I plan on protecting and supporting the direction it is moving toward.
• Vici Lee Jacobs, 59, of Prescott who is an Arizona native and has lived in Yavapai County since 1997.
Qualifications: I have 34 years in healthcare and 20 years in public service. I’ve served the past two years on the CYFD board, and as chairman of the CYFD local public safety personnel board. I am state certified in Emergency Medical Technician and with Wildland Firefighting. I’ve worked as a crisis intervention counselor for Phoenix Fire Department. As a health care administrator, I’ve worked with budgets; negotiating and writing contracts; overseeing employees and as a patient advocate. I demonstrate good business judgment as a fiscal conservative, saving the taxpayers and the fire district of unnecessary financial obligations. I promise to continue to insist on transparency and a balanced budget.
Most pressing issue: PSPRS – despite some modest pension reform to fix it, we still don’t know the financial impacts of the reform long term or the impact on the district. In addition, the verdict is still out on the Hall Lawsuit. We don’t know that impact on the district as well. That’s why we need to elect fiscal conservatives to ensure they do their due diligence to maintain a healthy capital reserve and cut expensive waste.
• Jeff Wasowicz, 52, of Dewey who has lived in the district 26 years.
Qualifications: Master’s degree in Business Administration; has worked with Fain Signature Group (FSG) for 26 years; experience with budgets, long-term planning, and coordination of projects with FSG; real-life work experience in management and planning.
Most pressing issue: They’ve done a good job with their reserve funds, but that may be the weakest financial component. I would focus on the reserve funds and getting the PSPRS (Public Safety Personnel Retirement System) fully funded and paid off.
• Matthew Zurcher, 37, of Prescott Valley who has lived in the district 11 years.
Qualifications: Member of Prescott Valley and Yavapai County Planning and Zoning commissions; board member for the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce; immediate past president of the Prescott Valley Police Foundation; member of the Prescott Valley Early Bird Lions. I have business and community involvement experience, and that allows me to help continue in keeping things going in the right direction for CAFMA (Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority).
Most pressing issue: With CAFMA being brand new, it’s a challenge and an opportunity. It’s new for everyone and we’re going to learn as we go along. The right steps to take have been made already, I just want to keep things flowing in the right direction.
Groom Creek Volunteer Fire Department has three candidates vying for two seats.
• Robert Schulz. After repeated efforts this week to reach Mr. Schulz, he did not respond.
• David Turbyfill, 51, who moved into the district in 1973, moved away in mid-1990s, and returned full time about six years ago; has lived or owned property here continuously since 1973.
Qualifications: Business owner with 26 years of business experience. Prior to that, managed and supervised a construction crew for a number of years. Grew my sheet metal manufacturing business to as many as 15 employees; survived the Great Recession that resulted in a 60-65 percent reduction of gross sales and a 70 percent loss in customer base; still going strong.
My dad was a volunteer as part of the group of the founding volunteer firefighters. I received certification in the 1980s as a firefighter, and was a volunteer firefighter. My son, a Granite Mountain Hotshot, was also a member of the Groom Creek Volunteers.
Most pressing issue: Financial health. I still have concerns about the overall financial health of the department.
• Gary Williams, 73, who has lived in the district 15 years full time and another eight years part-time.
Qualifications: I was in sales and marketing for 30 years with half of that owning my own company with about 10 employees. Experienced with management, budget and financial responsibilities.
I’ve been on the Home Owners Association board in Groom Creek for 20 years, also working in financing and budgeting. I’m on a road maintenance committee, collecting the money and scheduling maintenance on a private road with 40 properties.
Most pressing issue: For the fire district to provide the most professional, quality fire suppression and medical service while maintaining our budget responsibilities. I’d like to see the community united again.