In Tuesday’s election, voters chose Les Rogers, Brad Ray and Jan Nelson to serve on the Cortez Fire Protection District board of directors.
In unofficial results, Rogers garnered the most votes, with 102. He was followed by Ray with 99 votes, and Nelson with 79. They will serve four-year terms.
The election attracted 171 voters to the polling place at the Montezuma County Annex. Board directors are paid $75 per meeting.
Rogers, a former volunteer fire department chief, says his experience as a manager and public accountant will help the board in financial management. His goals as a board member include improved equipment, firefighter training and personnel retention.
“I will be proactive, informed and involved, not reactive,” he said.
Ray has experience working for a volunteer fire department. He wants to focus on training and keeping equipment up to date. He said he also would work to make sure firefighters have a decent wage.
“They are making pennies, and we are going to train guys to basically be a step to another department,” he said. “I would rather train them to stay.”
Nelson worked for special districts in Arizona for 15 years and for the Cortez Sanitation District for one year. She was also a board member for the Arizona and Colorado Rural Water-Wastewater associations.
“I feel I can make a positive difference for the fire district,” she said, adding that she will “ensure the firefighters have the tools they need to protect our community and go home safely after every call.”
Six candidates ran for three open seats, with the highest three vote-getters earning board seats. The other candidates were Buck Woodman, 72 votes; Jim Bridgewater, 65 votes; and Sherri Wright, 50 votes.
The Cortez Fire Protection District serves a 164-square-mile area with about 14,000 people. The paid fire department had 2,100 calls in 2017. A $4 million new fire station is nearing completion.