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Galt fire chief's contract in jeopardy

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Posted: Monday, July 7, 2003 10:00 pm

Jim Templeton, Galt's fire chief the past five years and a fire district employee since 1972, has been informed his contract will not be renewed, according to the fire board president.

"We already told him about two months ago we're not renewing it," fire board President Bill Dufur said Monday.

Templeton's contract expired June 30. His employment status will be discussed at a special board meeting tonight. The discussion will be closed to the public because it is a personnel item.

Templeton was not available for comment Monday.

The only question regarding Templeton's future, Dufur said, lies in a clause in his contract that says either Templeton or the fire board must give six months' advance notice about the chief's departure. However, Dufur wonders if the board needs to give six months' notice if the contract has expired.

Board member Guy Rutter, who was elected for the first time in November, basically confirmed Dufur's comments.

"More or less, that's probably the straight skinny," Rutter said. "I don't know what anybody else would do (tonight), but (Templeton) hasn't been progressive enough to take the district where it needs to go."

Rutter said he couldn't comment on Templeton's contract because he's never seen it. Rutter, chief of the former Sloughhouse Fire Protection District in rural Sacramento County and battalion chief of the former American River fire district before his retirement, said he doesn't understand why Templeton had a contract in the first place.

"I've never had one," Rutter said. "Why should I need one? I'm a good man."

Templeton's brother, Dale Templeton, denounced the board's apparent plan to not renew Jim Templeton's contract.

Dale Templeton, a Galt fire board member since 1980, said his brother has done an excellent job administering the district's finances.

A 1968 Galt High School graduate, Jim Templeton was hired by the fire district in 1972 and worked his way up to assistant chief in 1987. He doubled as fire marshal beginning in 1990, when the late Frank Harbert retired.

Templeton became fire chief in 1998 after Dave McPherson retired.

Today's board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the fire station at 229 Fifth St. The meeting will consider hiring consultant Mark Cooper, an assistant chief with the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, to study overall fire district operations in Galt.

"We need someone objective," Dufur said. "We need an opinion and a plan, not that we're floundering or anything. We need to tighten it up, make it better than it is."

After the fire board discusses hiring Cooper to study district operations, directors will review Templeton's employment status in closed session.

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