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Outgoing Mescal-J6 Fire District chief says micromanagement his reason for leaving

Posted at 8:15 AM, Jun 20, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Mescal-J6 Fire District Chief John Moran resigned last month. Moran said it was because he was micromanaged and had to waste time on special projects, researching and providing documents every week about their finances for a special interest group he said could be tied to a board member. His last day is Friday.

Moran also said part-time staff had to research the documents, which took away time from regular duties.

Board member Phyllis Ellis said some district members have been asking for a lot of public records, which is taking up a lot of time in their administration office.

When asked about making the positions full time or ways the staff can maximize their time, she said they’re focusing on the chief’s position at the time.

“For years now we’ve managed to get by with a part-time chief and a part-time administrative assistant and it’s worked fine,” Ellis said.

On Wednesday, the district board had a meeting where they considered the district’s finances and whether the position should be full or part time once Moran leaves. Ellis said next week they are going to be voting on the job description for the chief and will be posting the job a few days after that.

Former board member Bruce Andrews was at the meeting and said the district has agreements with other fire districts who can step up to help the district in case of an emergency situation.

However, he’s questioning why it took so long for the board to advertise for a new chief.

“I’m questioning why this wasn’t a regular meeting where you just vote on everything you hammered out tonight,” Andrews said.

Staffing struggles aren’t a problem unique to Mescal. South Tucson’s Fire Department is short staffed. Right now they’re looking to outsource their fire response to the City of Tucson, but they haven’t been able to move forward because of the finances.

“We only have one time firefighter and all our other firefighters are reserves, and when they’re reserves, they work full time for other fire departments,” Danny Denogean, the City of South Tucson’s public safety director, told KGUN 9 in a past interview.

To attract a candidate, the Mescal-J6 Fire District board is considering paying the chief $35,000-$45,000 dollars.

Chief Moran said he wants the district to succeed.

Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.