SYRACUSE -- A "miscommunication" between Syracuse City Councilwoman Karianne Lisonbee and county officials delayed the Jan. 31 hiring of a fire chief.
But it apparently won't prevent it.
"The reason I didn't hire (the new fire chief on Jan. 31) is that I wanted to look at numbers that would be forthcoming. But I was not correct in that assumption," Lisonbee said.
The Syracuse City Council is now set to meet at 7 p.m. today to consider hiring a new fire chief.
Lisonbee originally wanted to hold the meeting Wednesday night, but Mayor Jamie Nagle refused to schedule it, saying it would not meet the requirement of the state's open meetings law.
"I feel it is my duty to protect the city to any legal challenges that likely would be brought up against the council for failure to follow the open and public meetings act," Nagle wrote in an email sent Wednesday afternoon to the Standard-Examiner.
"There is temporary leadership in place at the fire department, and the candidate-elect has agreed that he is still willing to begin once the council approves the action."
The council tabled the hiring at its meeting Tuesday night.
At that meeting, Syracuse City Acting Fire Chief Bruce Peterson abruptly resigned, frustrated by the decision to delay hiring.
Peterson replaced former Syracuse Fire Chief Craig Cottrell, who resigned Dec. 15, the same day he was charged in 2nd District Court with prescription fraud.
Peterson turned his radio in to the city Tuesday, Nagle confirmed.
The council is expected to hire Eric Froerer, of University of Utah Air-Med, as the new fire chief, Nagle said.
Froerer, along with other city firefighters, in anticipation of his hiring, was at Tuesday's meeting when the council tabled its motion by a 4-1 vote after Lisonbee raised the option of the Davis County Sheriff's Office overseeing its fire department.
Lisonbee cited conversations she had with Davis County Commissioner John Petroff Jr. and Sheriff Todd Richardson.
The lone dissenting vote was from Councilman Douglas Peterson.
Lisonbee said she threw the proposal out as a "possibility," but she now admits after having conversations with the county, following the Tuesday meeting, that the council needs to come together in making a hiring decision.
Syracuse has also considered consolidating its fire department with North Davis Fire District, which serves Clearfield and West Point, Lisonbee said. Having a fire chief in place would only make the consolidation more costly, she said.
Lisonbee said she wanted to table hiring a new chief until she was certain someone was needed in the position.
"I don't have a problem (with Froeher)," she said.
But county officials view the delay caused by the Syracuse council a little differently.
Petroff said the only time he talked with Lisonbee before Tuesday's meeting was in November, when he invited Lisonbee and Councilman Craig A. Johnson to the Davis County Courthouse after the pair were elected to the council.
It was during that meeting, Petroff said, that he explained the nuances of county government.
At no time does he recall talking with the pair about the county providing fire service for the city, Petroff said.
"We have no intentions or ability to be involved in fire protection. We have very professional fire departments in Davis County, and we support them 100 percent."
He said that, in a conversation he had with Richardson, the sheriff indicated he did not provide Lisonbee with any cost estimates for his office to oversee the city's fire department.
Richardson could not be reached for comment.
Petroff said any cost analysis relating to the county overseeing the city's fire department has to pass through the county clerk/auditor's office.