Former State Senator and Monarch Fire Board Candidate Jane Cunningham spoke out against the hiring of a public education officer at Monarch's Fire Board meeting Feb. 7.
Cunningham, running against former State Representative Cole McNary for current Fire Board President Kim Evans's seat in the election this April, shared her thoughts during public comments.
With Monarch on the search for a public education officer, Cunningham said she did not see the advantage of the extra cost for the position when "school populations are not increasing and there is not any huge demand."
Cunningham suggested the position did not require a career as a firefighter or paramedic, but added that a retired firefighter "might love to come back in" and take the role.
The district first created the position last year, appointing a fully-trained firefighter/paramedic to fill it. During discussions concerning the district's 2013 budget in December, the public education officer job became a point of debate for the board's three directors.
Directors Steve Swyers and Kim Evans expressed support for placing a fully-paid firefighter in the position, explaining that the move had made the program wildly successful.
Harris said he opposed it on the basis that it pulled a full-time fighter off of shift work. He believes the duties could possibly be fulfilled by an individual who remains an "active duty," creating a cost-savings for the district.
Cunningham also emphasized the cost efficiency of the position and compared a potential salary to those of teachers and nurses with different levels of college degrees in public schools in the area.
"I'm recommending what enhances services," Cunningham said Thursday. "You should not just be creating jobs to create them."