Recent events and his view of the future saw Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD) chief Pat Moore tender his resignation during the board’s November 21 meeting.
Moore had enjoyed support from Board Chairman Jim Bailey and members Michael Collins and Erik Berg, but Berg was beaten by Moore critic Sue Wilkin in the November 8 general election. Bailey and Collins were re-elected but they are now in the minority so far as Moore is concerned, as Wilkin and board members Patti Lewis and Vic Riccardi have butted heads with the departing Chief.
Moore chose to announce his exit before Wilkin takes office December 8.
Moore used the November 21 meeting to address comments and criticisms that he said Lewis had aired regarding disagreements involving a firefighter scholarship fund and his taking extended leave. Moore also said he learned that Lewis contacted Mohave County Board of supervisors chairman Jean Bishop in late October.
Bishop confirmed that Lewis asked if the county would fire Moore and take over fire district operations.
``Patti wanted the county to remove Patrick as Chief and I told her the county had no authority to do that unless the district was insolvent,” Bishop said. ``I was surprised that she (Lewis) didn’t already have that knowledge.”
Collins did not identify Lewis, but said that he felt “betrayed and backstabbed by a certain individual who went to a higher authority to reach a personal agenda.”
Moore said he believes his resignation is in the best interest of himself and the district. ``It’s probably the most professional and appropriate course of action to take,” Moore said.
Fire Captain Brian Francis said Moore has worked miracles to maintain services and keep the district afloat bye finding creative ways to operate with district revenue in severe decline.
``What he’s done for the department, nobody could have done,” Francis said. ``I think losing Chief Moore as our Fire Chief is going to be a huge loss for this department.”
Moore, who has served as NACFD Chief for about 7 ½ years, also drew praise from board members Berg, Collins and Riccardi, as well as Arlan Berg, Erik Berg’s father.
``I am sorry to see Chief Moore go,” Arlan Berg said. ``He has done a tremendous service for this district and this community.”
Arlan Berg also expressed worry that the district will regress under new leadership.
``Do not let this fire department fall apart,” Arlan Berg pleaded. ``I don’t see anything going for the better with the loss of Chief Moore.”
Moore will work through the end of December and draw two months severance pay after that. The newly configured board is expected to contemplate interim leadership among Battalion Chiefs during the December 8 meeting.