Since the announcement of the resignation of the volunteers within the Cosmopolis Volunteer Fire Department, there has been a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation shared on social media and in conversation. Numerous residents have reached out to staff for clarification on the reasoning behind decisions made under my administration, and we are grateful for those who have done so. We feel it is important to ensure that residents have more information behind the concerns raised by the former volunteers, and staff have worked to put together this document to clarify as much as we can. We hope that you take this document and gain some understanding, but if you have further questions myself or my staff are always willing to provide clarification.
Board of Volunteer Firefighters – Payments
Brought to the attention of City Hall in December 2020. Payment was made immediately to bring it up to date. The 2021 payment was made on February 3, 2021. They are current at this time.
Payments to Association for Practice Fund
After a reconciliation of the association payments, it was determined that there had been overpayments made. On May 19, 2021, the Association was issued check 26527 in the amount of $1,090. The check cleared on November 24, 2021.
No request for repairs were denied by the Mayor or City Staff. When repairs were requested, they were all given approval. Copies of emails and texts are available by request. Public Works staff have assisted in the transport of Fire Apparatus to and from US Fire in Kent to help the FD get repairs completed.
On May 10th, Chief Bridges emailed Finance Director Pope stating that he had spoken to Mayor Pauley about sending application post cards to all Cosmopolis residents due to declining numbers. There were no denials but suggestions to lower the cost. Due to the budget constraints, a private citizen offered to pay for the full request. There is no knowledge of the order being made.
Failure to Pay Medical Bill for Responder
On February 25, 2020, Director Pope received a phone call from Summit Pacific Medical Center regarding an incident at an EMS call where a responder required a medical evaluation afterwards. She then emailed the Fire Chief stating what the call was about and asked for documentation regarding the injury. Chief Bridges responded by stating he was out of town and will stop by when he got back to town. He did come into City Hall when he returned but did not have the paperwork. The Mayor was notified of the incident. No bills were submitted to City Hall until the first part of October, 2021. Check 26817 was issued on October 6, 2021 in the amount of $3,373.57 and cleared the City’s bank account on October 13, 2021.
City denied request for Covid-19 test for Responder
On May 25, 2021, a CFD Volunteer submitted an invoice for a Covid 19 test and new patient fee for an incident on December 20, 2020. Finance Director Julie Pope emailed the volunteer and asked for a copy of the incident report so payment could be submitted. There was no response from the volunteer.
City failed to recognize input from Fire Chief on Budget
There were numerous meetings and emails regarding the 2020/2021 budget cycles. From September through December of each year, there are many budget workshops prior to each Council meeting plus staff meetings. There are also many emails to department heads regarding their respective budgets.
Items Reinstated and Increased to Fire Department
When revenues increased last year, the City reinstated the $250 monthly practice/training night meals. The City also doubled the Sunday Duty Meal Stipend from $25 to $50.
Department of Health License Renewal Late
The DOH License Renewal process, including the completion of all necessary documentation, has historically been completed by the Fire Chief. On August 6th, 2021, the Assistant Fire Chief sent an Email to Mayor Pauley stating the DOH License Renewal Application had not been submitted. City Staff, including the Mayor, Finance Director and City Administrator, took it upon themselves to contact the Department of Health and completed the necessary documentation. This was accomplished in its entirety on December 9th, 2021.
Mayor Pauley fails to communicate plan for the Fire Department
Mayor Pauley, City Council members, and staff have held numerous meetings (as well as exchanged emails and phone conversations) with Fire Department leadership over the prior years that discussed future planning and budgetary limitations. Any changes in plans or operations that are up for adoption require City Council approval and input from the fire department.
No new Fire Chief named for numerous months
In June 2021, Mayor Pauley asked for three names of current volunteers who were interested in being Fire Chief. In August 2021, one name was submitted. At his discretion, the Mayor declined the nomination. Volunteers are slandered by City Hall Staff This statement has been made on several occasions but lacks any factual basis. City Policy governs the actions of its employees and Section 9.1 General Code of Conduct, paragraph 2 of the City’s personnel policy states, “Among Cosmopolis’s expectations are: basic tact and courtesy towards customers, potential customers and fellow employees, during personal interactions, and while communicating by telephone, email, text message, or social media.”
City Council and Mayor abused Executive Session rules
Executive sessions are allowed by RCW 42.30.110 for only the reasons listed in the same RCW. Every Executive session has complied with the process set forth in RCW 42.30.110 and is essential to the governing process. Though the executive session is conducted during the city council meeting, the process itself is confidential in nature and used to inform the council of information of importance. No action is taken during the session and is restricted by law. The City Attorney is present during executive sessions to ensure compliance.
No Mediation Requests by City
Mediation was offered to the Volunteers prior to the end of the year as well as after January 1st. This was not accepted by the Fire Department.