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Black Forest Fire Board not sure if fire chief will return

Black Forest Fire Board not sure if Fire Chief will return

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - The chair of the Black Forest Fire Board said Wednesday night the board is not sure if the district's fire chief will return.

Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey gave the fire board a letter six weeks ago stating he was under examination for post- traumatic stress disorder. He said his symptoms may be related to PTSD brought on by the loss of homes in the Black Forest Fire. He also said in the letter "actions by certain members of the board in threatening of his job status during their recent campaign may be additional cause for stress."

Harvey turned in the letter at the beginning of a special meeting called by the Black Forest Fire Board in June.  On its agenda was a closed-door meeting to discuss "personnel matters related to the fire chief." Before that happened, Harvey announced he was on medical leave effective immediately.

Fire Board Chair Rick McMorran said Wednesday Harvey has used all of his paid-time off and is therefore no longer getting paid by the Fire District.

The fire board voted at the meeting Wednesday to increase Assistant Fire Chief James Rebitski's salary to reflect the salary of a fire chief since he is acting in Harvey's place during his absence.

Under the fire district's medical leave policy, the fire district may ask Harvey for additional physician's statements and they must be provided.  The district can also ask Harvey to be examined by doctors the fire board designates.

When asked if those steps had been taken, McMorran said Wednesday that he could not answer those questions since it relates to a personnel issue.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 was not able to reach Harvey for comment.

During a special district election in May, all fire board members up for re-election were voted out. They were replaced by three firefighters. Some of the newly elected board members were behind a petition calling for Harvey's dismissal earlier this year.

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