Black Forest Fire Chief Remains Incommunicado

Aug. 21--Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey has not officially resigned, but his actions, including his refusal to communicate with the board, have amounted to a public resignation, fire district board members said Wednesday night.

At its monthly meeting, the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District board reiterated that it will begin searching for a new chief.

Despite the fact that the members have not spoken with Harvey for 11 weeks, they have not fired him.

"The board has been more than patient with Mr. Harvey, given his publicly stated condition, but there has been no cooperation from Mr. Harvey than any other employer would expect of an employee," said board chairman Rick McMorran, reading from a board statement during the meeting.

Harvey, an at-will employee who was hired Aug. 22, 2012, announced June 4 that he would be taking medical leave, citing possible symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder related to a hostile work environment and stress caused by fighting the Black Forest fire.

The board's three new members had signed a petition to have the chief removed, something Harvey alluded to in the letter announcing his medical leave.

Harvey left the June 4 meeting early, even though board members had planned to meet with him during an executive session. The meeting was not "intended to be a formal personnel hearing," according to the board, but new members had planned to "ask their own questions as they saw fit."

Because Harvey did not indicate when he would return to work, he was asked to drop off district-owned property, the board said. On Aug. 13 he arrived at the station, dropped off the equipment, and cleaned out his office. The board said this was something he was not asked to do.

Harvey has updated his LinkedIn account to list the Black Forest Fire Rescue District as previous employment and to indicate that he is currently employed as a consultant at Rubicon Fire Solutions LLC, the board said.

McMorran called the situation with Harvey "unique" in the fact that he has refused to communicate. McMorran said the board has spent money to consult with an attorney about how to proceed. The board is not facing any possible lawsuits, he said.

Harvey has yet to publicly comment on the situation.


Contact Lisa Walton: 476-1623

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