EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - The Black Forest Fire Board announced at a special meeting on Wednesday that it will continue to work with its fire chief currently on medical leave.
In June, Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey placed himself on medical leave siting post traumatic stress disorder. He made the announcement before a special meeting called by the fire board. On its agenda was a closed-door meeting to discuss "personnel matters related to the fire chief."
Almost every chair was taken during the special meeting on Wednesday. The board spent almost an hour in a closed door session with an attorney. After, it announced it would continue to work with the fire chief and ended the meeting.
According to Wednesday night's agenda, the board planned "review, discussion and possible action relative to status of fire chief."
People in the room were frustrated after the meeting came to an end, and so were some board members.
"They aren't the only ones frustrated. I am equally frustrated. It's a complex issue and it's a personnel issue so we can't talk about that," said board member PJ Langmaid.
Other meeting attendees want to make sure Harvey stays.
"A lot of people are disappointed. I am not. I am a firm supporter. He is the best fire chief I know of," said Chuck Lidderdale.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa criticized Harvey for not handing command over earlier during the Black Forest Fire. Maketa said it delayed key resources from getting into the fire fight.
An investigator hired by the Black Forest Fire Board said the fire was out of control and Harvey's decisions did not impact the fire's outcome.
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.