gvfdGolden Valley Fire District Board (GVFD) member Rhonda Brooks essentially rejected a recent opportunity to remove a censure that prohibits her from communicating directly with staff members. A previous board imposed the censure roughly 18 months ago due to concerns about negative communications between Brooks and staff. Under the censure, Brooks is required to use Fire Chief  Thomas O’Donohue as her point of contact for fire district affairs. That has proved problematic as Brooks is an outspoken critic of the Fire Chief and O’Donohue signed a petition proposing that Brooks be recalled from office. Board member Paul Gorham recognizes that the censure tends to isolate Brooks when it comes to information and communication that would typically flow more freely through elected board members and support staff. “I just think we’re all board members. We all put our shoes on the same way,” Gorham said at the November 19 Board meeting. “We all should work on the same premise.” Speaking from the audience a week before he was to be sworn in as a Board member, Jack Hommel suggested lifting the censure for a fresh start. “This situation has been ongoing for quite some time, very visible, very apparent,” Hommel said. “Strictly in order to promote some harmony here, might I suggest to the board that this censure be voided.” O’Donohue welcomed the suggestion. “I would encourage the board to lift the censure and we can try to move on and get back to where we were,” O’Donohue said. “You don’t want to leave that censure in place forever because if the problem is fixed we should remove that and I for one would like to have more interaction and more staff interaction that would help Director Brooks do her job more efficiently.” Discussion of lifting the censure led directly to the question of whether Brooks would embrace a stronger working relationship with O’Donohue. “Probably not,” Brooks replied. “I will talk to him at a board meeting in the public.” Brooks’ statement quickly ended contemplated action on the censure issue. Board members said the matter could be reconsidered in the future.

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