The Idyllwild Fire Protection Commission approved a salary range for the next fire chief and announced the vacancy last week. Interested individuals are to submit their applications and materials by Sunday, June 10. The Commission’s goal is to have a week of transition between interim Chief Mike Sherman’s departure and the arrival of the new chief.

Sherman has indicated that he tentatively plans to finish his Idyllwild assignment by the beginning of July.

“I’m really hoping for one to two weeks of overlap, even if it costs a little more,” said Commissioner Larry Donahoo.

The salary range is from $85,932 to $94,853. The announcement will state that the new chief will likely be hired at either the lowest step or the second, $88,080.

Sherman proposed the $85,932 figure as a start because it is former Chief Walker’s salary less seven percent, which is the pay reduction to which career firefighters agreed in February.

From that starting point, there are four incremental steps of 2.5 percent increases. Other benefits include CalPERS retirement plan, health insurance and a staff vehicle.

The commission does expect the new chief to become an Idyllwild resident. “District residency is desired as soon as possible and is an expected requirement by no later than the completion of the probationary period.”

In other business, the commission discussed and approved the use of the station for filming. A student at Idyllwild Arts made the request and Chief Sherman brought it to the commission.

“I’ve brought this to you because some stations won’t allow anyone but firefighters to be photographed with equipment and some allow filming every month,” said Sherman.

Donahoo expressed some concern about how the film crew’s presence might affect operations. “I want to be cooperative, if we can make it work. I’m all for it if it’s good for the community,” he said.

Finally, the commission agreed to another policy review workshop at 6 p.m., on Friday, June 1 at the Fire Station. Commissioner Jerry Buchanan promised his colleagues that he would have a dozen or more policies ready for their review, similar to the April 4 meeting.