Mark LaMont, current assistant chief of Idyllwild Fire Department, has been offered the chief’s position, subject to negotiating a contract with the commission. Photo by JP Crumrine

The Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) Commission held a special meeting Wednesday, July 17.

After the opening, the commission moved to a closed session to discuss issues relating to the choice of a new fire chief. 

The agenda specifically stated that neither a salary nor other compensation were subjects during the closed session.

After the session ended, Commission President Jerry Buchanan reported that no action was taken.

The commission’s next regular meeting was Tuesday, July 23. This agenda also had a closed session scheduled regarding the appointment of a fire chief.

Acting Fire Chief Mark LaMont stepped into the role after former Fire Chief Patrick Reitz resigned on March 20 for personal reasons with six-months’ severance pay. Reitz had been out on medical leave for a couple months prior to his resignation. 

The commission has stayed tight-lipped on the reason for Reitz’s resignation. 

LaMont and Reitz were both subjects of a 2013/14 Riverside County Grand Jury investigation of IFPD. The grand jury recommended the termination of both LaMont and Reitz. 

According to the grand jury report, one of the terms of Reitz employment was to obtain his California Paramedic Certification within his first six months of employment with IFPD. The investigation discovered that the certification had never been obtained. 

In the same report, the grand jury recommended the IFPD board conduct an investigation and consider terminating LaMont’s employment for “violating the Firefighter Code of Ethics and placing IFPD in a potentially liable position.”