By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Citing declining health, a longtime member of the Keizer Fire Board stepped down last month.
Mike Hart, a former city councilor who was elected to the Keizer Fire District fire board in 2003, turned in his resignation in December.
“My health has continued to decline and it has gotten harder to participate in the fire board so I believe it is time for me to step down,” said Hart in an interview via e-mail.
Former Keizer Fire Chief Greg Frank asked Hart more than a decade ago to serve as part of KFD long-range planning committee and he enjoyed the experience so much, he opted to run for a seat on the fire board and held onto it, despite one vigorous challenge, for 11 years.
Hart said helping select a successor for Frank, Jeff Cowan, the current KFD chief was one of his proudest accomplishments as a member of the fire board.
“The process was in depth. I believe we made a great choice. I have great respect for Chief Cowan and the work he has done for the district,” Hart said.
Hart had something of an edge in the process, having previously taken part in hiring a new city manager as part of his role on the Keizer City Council.
“There are very few places where we get to hire the chief executive officer of an organization, so I was glad to have had that experience when we hired the new fire chief,” Hart said.
Experience with city budgetary processes, policy-making and gaining an understanding of the role of an elected official with respect to the staff and the community were also invaluable, Hart said.
Having spent a number of years with KFD, Hart had one final message for his fellow public servants.
“The board is made up of dedicated public servants. We made thoughtful decisions on behalf of the district. The staff and volunteers have shown time and again what great professionals they are,” he said.