For the Keizertimes

A charter of cooperation, drawn up by a committee of firefighters, won unanimous approval from the directors of Marion County Fire District No. 1, the Turner Fire District and the Willamette Valley Fire and Rescue Authority (WVFRA) on Thursday, April 15, at the Turner Fire Station.

The committee, appointed partly by firefighters’ organizations and partly by fire board members in December 2009 in response to concerns over the WVFRA administration, worked on the charter with the guidance of Bob McCarthy, an organization development consultant. The charter is known as the WVFRA Way.

Its mission is “to support the viability of fire districts who positively impact their communities.”

It lists organizational values of integrity, honesty, attitude, accountability, trust, loyalty, respect, teamwork, a positive work environment, cooperation, commitment and preparedness.

It also lists principles of safety, communication, customer service, competency, financial integrity, relationships, fitness and hard work.

Calling the charter “a vision, a model, a framework,” McCarthy told the boards that it did not yet have “the structure to make it happen.”

However, he said the charter was the foundation necessary for the structure, which he said would be the next step. He told the directors and firefighters that they would have to keep the charter in mind constantly to maintain the structure.

The committee members, he said, did not arrive at the principles by simple majority votes but made sure each one was worded to have the general agreement of all the members.

The joint board meeting was preceded by a brief meeting of the Turner District board, at which Bob Palmer, a former volunteer firefighter for District No. 1, read the letter he had written to the District No. 1 board in March, urging that both fire districts “pay their respective fair share for the percentage of the benefits they receive.”