By Jim Consolato from Mohave County Watch Dog
01. Plan on doing it by alone. Volunteers have lives, and your campaign is important to you but not too many other people. Don’t take offense.
02. You are running for the Fire Board…not the U.S. Presidency. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for this volunteer position.
03. This elected position is a 100% volunteer position. By law, the district cannot buy you as much as a cup of coffee with public money. You will end up spending hundreds of dollars from your own pocket for public records, gas, ink cartridges, copy paper, binders and report covers.
04. You are liable by law for any financial blunders that occur in your district. It is imperative that you carefully go over the financial sheets carefully, every single month. Never sign off on someone else’s report. Keep a written record of every question or concern you have. This will take approximately 8 hours to complete…every single month. Think hard about being a check signer.
05. Prepare to be ostracized by your fellow board members and the fire chief if you are an independent thinker. The fire chief may try to make you think he is the all-powerful, all knowing boss of the district. He is NOT. Your boss is the taxpayers, and your sole purpose for being there is public safety. Protecting the public’s money is part of that job.
06. Plan on every move you make, along with your photo to be plastered on the front page of the newspaper. Press releases do not have to be true to be publicized. Juicy stories sell more papers, but take heart: tomorrow it will all be old news.
07. Undoubtedly one other board member and the fire chief will try to make your life miserable. They will try to gain access to your personal e-mails, pull recall papers on you, report you conduct to the county attorney, have you censured, ask you to resign, and generally be a pain. Remember you are in an elected position, so short of recall, they really can’t touch you. The public is not blind. They see what is going on.
08. That hero of a fire chief is likely a sociopath. (Look it up) He is smart, and charming, and someone you do not want to meet with away from the public. He will attempt to coerce you into private meetings. DON’T DO IT! Anything he has to say to you can be said in a public meeting, in front of the taxpayers.
09. The taxpayers are not currently subsidizing the ambulance service. A small fire district will most certainly lose money if it takes on the burden of ambulance transports. The taxpayers must be protected from such a burden.
10. You are expected to KNOW all of the laws that pertain to your position. Ignorance is no excuse; Arizona Revised Statutes, Open Meeting Laws, IRS laws, and Bylaws. The laws change. You are subject to all of this for FOUR LONG YEARS of your life.