Nueces County Emergency Services District No. 3 officials said they would return to “business as usual” with the Kleberg County Volunteer Fire Department, less than a week after they temporarily suspended mutual aid to the fire houses in Kleberg.
On June 22, John Davis, the Nueces County ESD3 fire chief wrote in an email that the fire department was temporarily refusing to supply mutual aid to the KCVFD because of “over aggressive behavior and or (sic) bullying tactics,” until issues within the KCVFD had been resolved.
According to an email sent to Kleberg County officials last Friday, KCVFD assistant fire chief Brandon Harris met with Davis to inform him of some changes at the KCVFD.
“Chief Harris and I met yesterday at my office and he advised me that some corrective measures and policies have been put into motion to ensure everyone’s safety and well being is top priority on all scenes,” Davis said in the e-mail.
Davis noted that he had been informed a volunteer with the Kleberg department had been removed, although he did not name the individual.
“Chief Harris advised me that (an) individual has been removed from any further contact or responsibility with Kleberg County Emergency Services,” Davis wrote. “Chief Harris advised that this individual will no longer be affiliated or allowed on any emergency scene. ESD3 was concerned about everyone’s safety first and foremost.
“…This profession put(s) tremendous amount of pressure on all of us at times. Chief Harris also informed me that you all (the Kleberg County Commissioners) will be signing and voting to approve the new mutual aid agreement within the coming days. We look forward to continue working with all of you, our great neighbors to the south. Teamwork is what it’s all about and providing the best level of service to the community.”
Davis said he and his staff would also like to see the KCVFD be under the supervision of one fire chief for both fire houses and one set of “policies and procedures for everyone to follow.”
“Both of your stations need to put aside differences and work together with one goal — serving the entire county of Kleberg,” Davis said. “I feel that with one chief overseeing the entire operations, things tend to go smoothly and he or she can address and take the needed action necessary to prevent issues like this from happening again so that the general public doesn’t need to be involved.”
Davis said he has informed his personnel that they will operate as usual and “will continue to provide mutual aid to our partners in Kleberg County.”
Davis asked Kleberg County officials that he be provided an official notice “in writing with the appropriate signatures as to the actions or measures that were implemented, so that I can share it with our board of directors and place (it) in our files.”
In an interview Friday, Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid said he contacted both fire houses in Ricardo and Riviera and informed them of a change that he hopes to implement to ease the job for both stations.
“I told them we’re going into budget workshop soon, and I am going to incorporate into our budget monies so that we can build a fire district,” Madrid said. “They are very excited about that and I did a lot of research. A fire district is the answer to all of this. One, you have executive leadership and professional oversight. Two, you have a lot of financial opportunities when you are a part of a district that they’re not entitled to right now.”
Madrid said the KCVFD could receive more assistance as a district, and if the district is created they will look to hire one fire chief to cover both departments.
“We’ve already got a meeting set up (this week) and we’re going to get the ball rolling,” he said.