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Fire Chief John Ingrao put on admin leave posted on 04/01/2020

The Hoodland Fire District’s board of directors placed Fire Chief John Ingrao on administrative leave last month until an investigation can be completed. Board chair Shirley Dueber noted there was no further comment on the investigation or what prompted the decision, but stressed to the community that the district will continue to serve the community without restrictions.

“Everything will run as normal,” Dueber said. “There will be absolutely nothing for the community to worry about. The district is covered and will stay that way; we have good crews and they know their job.”

Dueber added that the board hired Steven Abel to serve as Hoodland’s interim fire chief, who will start April 1. Ingrao took over as the fire chief in January 2017 after serving as Deputy Chief since 2011.

Ingrao’s leave occurs when the district is in search of a new Deputy Chief, thanks to a bond passed by voters last year to fund the position. Ingrao had indicated he would retire at some point after the new Deputy Chief was onboard. The search, which opened last November only to restart in February after not enough applicants came forward, will now be delayed.

“I’m not sure of ramifications for deputy chief, but I think it will be on hold,” Dueber said, noting that the district had received applicants.

Dueber added that the board is also currently grappling with a new budget and is waiting for an audit report from the Special Districts Association of Oregon, which was performed over the course of about a month and examined all of the district’s responsibilities and activities.

“We’ve got all kinds of things on the table that need to be taken care of,” Dueber said, noting that the audit was done because they want to “make sure they were well covered in every department.”

Dueber added that the board also promoted Scott Kline to Battalion Chief last month.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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