Chairman Patti Lewis disparaged one of the applicant finalists for the fire chief’s position during the June 15 meeting of the Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD) governing board meeting. Lewis’ awkward remark referenced interviews with one of the finalists for the job.

“We’ll see if we can get the alcoholic in here,” Lewis said. She declined comment as a reporter attempted to ask her to clarify which candidate she referenced.

“I ain’t talking to you,” she told the reporter. “The last time I did it got me in trouble.”

Lewis was mistaken because it was another reporter with another newspaper to whom she allegedly provided executive session information that was publicized and apparently prompted an executive session scolding from fire district attorney Bill Whittington.

Two of the top three finalists screened by a two board member committee were interviewed on May 18. The third finalist declined to respond to interview offers.

Lewis said she was dissatisfied with each of the top three candidates. She said that interim chief Wayne Eder was interviewed for the chief’s position during the preceding two hour long executive session that also involved other matters.

Lewis said the next step in the process would be to try to interview the fifth applicant finalist, a resident of Colorado.