City Government

Doan Retires From Boise FD

In the first major shake up of her new administration, Mayor Lauren McLean has encountered a cumbersome transition with dumping Dennis Doan from the fire chief position.

In a nutshell: if she wanted to get rid of Doan, who was a long time supporter of former Mayor Dave Bieter, she should have simply asked for his resignation at the outset.

A message was sent to Doan placing him on “administrative leave” with pay and ordering him out of his office within a few hours on Monday.

The “administrative leave” term implies wrongdoing, an investigation or a temporary matter. Doan, 51, stood on the steps for city hall Wednesday and set the record straight–there was no allegation of wrongdoing on his part.

At a press conference he told the local media he had just left a meeting with McLean and tendered a letter of resignation which would allow him to remain on admin leave as an employee until the end of May. No word from McLean about accepting what amounts to his three month severance pay. He was (is) the second highest paid city employee with an annual salary of about $165,000

The GUARDIAN suspects there is a back story here involving retirement benefits, or other requirements of PERSI, the state retirement program. Doan is a native son, has been active in Democrat politics, and is a member of the Boise School Board. It would not be unusual to see him running for office in the future.

UPDATE 3p.m.

Looks like there has been a flurry of e-mails between Clan McLean and Doan since his announcement. The City Council will now have the opportunity to publicly fire Doan in accordance with the policy of department heads serving–or not–at the pleasure of the mayor with consent of the council.

IDAHO PRESS is reporting that Boise officials have turned down Doan’s plan to retire. He released this message from Human Resources Director Kelcey Stewart, “As the Mayor indicated to you, the city wished to honor your contributions over the last 30 years and support your retirement with dignity. Unfortunately, the city feels that resolving your personnel matter in a way that honors your service and that goal is not a viable option.”

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Garry Beaty
    Mar 4, 2020, 1:24 pm

    Dennis Doan is a good man and Chief for 12 years. Shame she wasn’t smart enough to figure out a smooth exit.

  2. Michael Quinlan
    Mar 4, 2020, 1:38 pm

    My guess: When McLean took office she told Doan he had to leave but as a courtesy gave him time to find a new job. Doan exceeded the time limit so McLean had him put on administrative leave to make it clear that he was going out. Doan tried to extend his time to find a new job until the end of May (he probably also got additional retirement benefits from the delay). The latest letter saying that the council will vote to fire him instead is McLean’s way of saying no, he can’t delay and has to leave now.

    And, of course, this is all because of Doan’s support of Bieter against McLean.

  3. Margaret Lauterbach
    Mar 4, 2020, 1:54 pm

    Doan and the firefighters came on publicly very strong for Bieter in the mayoral campaign. Was that in violation of the Hatch Act? I know that applies mainly to the Federal government employees, but any group receiving federal funds is bound by it too, isn’t it?

  4. There is probably alot more to this than the average citizen knows.

  5. I believe the proper phrasing is “Doan is a native son, has been active in DemocratIC politics…”

    It being a personnel matter not subject to disclosure under the Idaho Public Records Act, we likely will never know the full story of Doan’s departure.

  6. Tequila Mockingbird
    Mar 4, 2020, 4:29 pm

    It seems more likely that the administrative leave came after conversations with the mayor.

    So, he wanted to stay on the books at $13K a month for three months and the mayor disagreed.

    I can’t believe that Mr. Doan didn’t see this coming. A new mayor often means that at-will department heads are on the chopping block, As a vocal supporter of Bieter, personal friend of Bieter (which got him the chief job in the first place), and a member of the PAC that operated out of city offices (violation of city policy) supporting Bieter, he should have started cleaning out his office the day after the election.

    He could have taken the offer and left with some dignity like so many department heads before him, but his ego is so enormous that we’re left with all this drama.

  7. Bonnie Krupp
    Mar 4, 2020, 5:28 pm

    He did break campaign law by using his office address to file union politcal donations.
    Clegg was another recipient.
    Should our city employees be serving on boards? Does he have the time or expertise?
    Their inspections seemed lax from my perspective.
    Thought his cushy job would last forever?

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