The District of Lantzville has hired former Saanich chief administrative officer Paul Murray to lead a fire services review.
Council voted 6-1 to hire Murray, who’ll do an estimated $6,300 review of the fire department and the district’s options to replace outgoing fire chief Tom Whipps.
The chief’s position is currently volunteer, with a $12,000 honorarium. A district report shows the consultant will look at costs and implications for fire service options, which could see the municipality keep the status quo position, move to an in-house full-career fire service, or contract out fire protection.
The report will also include an overview of the existing service and input as well as feedback from the fire department.
Whipps told council at an open meeting Monday that he still has concerns about the consultant’s lack of fire credentials. Coun. Dave Scott, however, said it’s better to have somebody from the outside and who has interview skills and management experience.
Coun. Jennifer Millbank said she’s sensitive to the concern the consultant might not have specific experience on the floor or managing a fire hall, but under the circumstances, the district has to get the review done.
“He may not be perfect. He may not be the ideal candidate, but the clock is ticking and it’s more important to me in this stage of the game that we get it accomplished,” she said.
The review is expected to take five days. Whipps is expected to retire at the end of June.