By Michael B. Sherman, Interim Fire Chief
Well, I have goods news and more good news.
First, the new IFPD Fire Chief is in place and he hit the ground running on Aug. 1.
Second, my work here is done and I will be leaving soon. I will stay for a few days of transition. My last day in the office at IFPD will be Thursday, but I will return for a few hours to help with the Aug. 14 commission meeting. After Aug. 14, Betty and I will enjoy some real retirement for at least a while.
The major issues that were hanging over the future of IFPD are for the most part under control. The budget is balanced and reserves will begin to be rebuilt. The ambulance service in Zones I, II, and III are settled for three years. The final budget is being printed for commission approval and lays out a positive future for services to Idyllwild.
The new fire chief, Patrick Reitz, still has a lot of work to do before IFPD can put all of the recent issues behind it, but he is up to the task.
I believe Chief Reitz will reach out to the community and seek as much input as he can as he learns about Idyllwild. I also believe he will start building a team at IFPD that includes all segments of the district and the members of the community.
I will really miss Idyllwild and being a part of the community’s future. I want to thank those that have been very supportive; the commission for giving me the opportunity to work at IFPD and letting me lead; the employees at IFPD who stayed on task meeting the emergency demands even though they knew their future was in the balance; the volunteers and part-time personnel that came along side as we went through many changes; the community organizations like CERT, MCFSC, Rotary, and MDP; and finally, my wife, daughter, and granddaughter that gave up so much of their time with me so I could concentrate on IFPD.
Idyllwild is a very special community. I started after a very contentious commission meeting in January where I made it clear that “Grace” must prevail if IFPD was to be able to build a team that could correct the issues before them. Most of those I interacted with showed extraordinary “Grace” as we worked through issues and the results were just as extraordinary.
If you were part of the community playground construction in June, you witnessed this same vision, “Grace,” and sacrifice that many have demonstrated to me while being in Idyllwild these last seven plus months.
Please keep focusing on the good in people and show “Grace” far more than judgment as you build the future for Idyllwild. Again, thanks for letting me be a part of that future. It has been a true joy and growth in my personal and professional life. Now, it is time for my family and I to move on to our next challenge.
It’s time to put out the dog and douse the fire.