Fire chief working double duty in new role
The city of Eudora and Wakarusa Township are negotiating how to best share a fire chief.
Since January, Chris Moore has worked 30 hours a week as Wakarusa Township’s fire chief and filled in as Eudora’s interim fire chief. Last month, he accepted the position as Eudora’s part-time fire chief.
Now, the two entities are sitting down to see how they can consolidate services. What Moore will be paid, how much time he needs to spend at each station and if he will drive one command vehicle, shared by two government entities, is still being discussed behind closed doors.
Moore had been paid $40,000 a year to work for Wakarusa Township, which has three other paid firefighters on staff. He also makes $16 an hour for his time spent in Eudora, which has a fire department made up of volunteers.
To cover duties as both Eudora and Wakarusa Township’s fire chief, Moore said he puts in at least a 60-hour work week.
“It is possible, absolutely,” Moore said of running both a fire station for a city of 6,000 people and a fire department for a township that covers 46 square miles.
Not everyone is so sure.
“Obviously, he can’t be in two places at once. Being fire chief you are on call 24/7. And, I know I wouldn’t want to be on call for one job, let alone for two all year-round,” said Rob Goodlett, a local resident.
If calls were to come into each station at the same time, Moore said he would go to the one that was the most serious.
“For nine months I haven’t had any problems, complaints or conflicts,” Moore said.
Norman Leary, who’s on the Wakarusa Township board, said the chances of having two major incidents at the same time in the city and the township are unlikely.
“Wakarusa Township has a good enough fire department if the chief isn’t there. We are still under good control until he gets there,” he said.