City Government

Doan Resigns Before Scheduled Firing

Dennis Doan resigned from employment at the city of Boise shortly before a Friday special city council meeting was called to consider his firing. The council met, declined to act and adjourned.

The GUARDIAN had publicly advised him Wednesday to make the move: We also think Doan could preserve his dignity by immediately resigning “for the benefit of the citizens of Boise.”

In his letter to Mayor Lauren McLean, Doan said, “Out of the love I have for the City of Boise, its citizens, and the Boise Fire Department, please accept this email as my resignation, effective immediately.”

To prevent future awkward events like the Doan debacle, the GUARDIAN offers this alternative: “All department directors in the city of Boise shall submit their resignation upon the election of a mayor.” That can be a condition of employment, city ordinance, or written policy.

Then the new mayor or a re-elected mayor can either except the resignation or extend the employment of the department head. That is how it works for new congressmen, presidents, and governors. No one would expect a new President to keep cabinet members of a prior administration who campaigned for the new incumbent’s opponent. Same applies to congressional staffers.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. And he wasted everyones time who attended this session, as he could have announced this when he walked in the hearing room. The Councils time, the reporters time, the general publics time. He was talking to the reporters while the Council was in Executive Session – what story was spun?

  2. Old White Guy
    Mar 6, 2020, 3:46 pm

    As for new Chief, what’s wrong with the guy doing the job right now? My guess is he’s nearly ideal unless he too was throwing political moves.

    EDITOR NOTE–What! No “nationwide search?”

  3. Eamonn Harter
    Mar 6, 2020, 8:02 pm

    I concur with OWG above. The mayor should promote from within the ranks of current firefighters and police officers and avoid “nationwide searches.” This is not college football.

  4. The interim Fire Chief appears to have a very solid background and knows his way around. We will already have a new police chief who will have to learn the ropes, so we don’t need to have both heads of public safety “learning the ropes” at the same time. And this can save taxpayer money in a time when fast-rising property taxes (derived from budgets) are hurting alot of people.

  5. Western guy
    Mar 6, 2020, 10:59 pm

    Always promoting from within police and fire depts keeps the organizational incest intact.

  6. The problem about promoting from within is the union and most of the firefighters supported Beiter. The new Mayor probably has no trust in the Union or its members.

  7. I copied the following from the Boise Weekly. Couldn’t this type of leadership be considered a wrong doing on Dennis’s part?
    Boise taxpayers overwhelmingly voted in 2014 to approve a $17 million bond for fire station upgrades, but due to estimate miscalculations and steep construction costs, it was not enough to complete the projects on time.

    Now the city expects the cost for the revamp of four fire stations and the construction of the new fire training center to hit $34 million by the time all of the projects are completed by 2022, as first reported by the Idaho Statesman. The fire training center and two of the fire station revamps have been completed, but with the bond funds gone, the city is having to dip into capital funds to complete the rest.

    Fire station 9 at the corner of State Street and Sycamore Drive is set to be renovated this coming fiscal year 2019 for $4.9 million, which is an increase over the original estimate of $1.2 million. The city also plans to build a new fire station 5 on South 16th Street for $7.9 million in fiscal year 2022. A rebuild of station five was originally pegged at $2.8 million, which went up the sharpest of all of the projects because it is the busiest station in the city. City spokesman Mike Journee said the city found it needed more complex upgrades than initially thought.

    The fire training facility, built for $11.6 million, opened at the beginning of this summer. The renovation of station 4 on Ustick Road was also completed to accommodate a ladder truck. Station 8 was relocated on Overland Road, which has decreased response times to the Central Bench and Boise State University.

    Journee said the city knew the bond was not going to cover the costs for all of the projects by the summer of 2015. He said a “perfect storm” of design changes, an insufficient cost estimate process and rising building costs came together to cause the large cost overruns. A similar bond narrowly failed the year before in 2013, so Journee said the city did not invest heavily in the planning process for the project because it was not sure it would be approved at all.

    “After the bond passed, at the time our philosophy was you don’t want to invest a whole lot of money into planning and understanding of projects before the bond passes because the previous bond didn’t pass so we weren’t quite sure what we were going to have to work with in order to do it at all,” Journee said. “We’ve changed some procedures as a result of this to ensure that’s not the case again.”

    It’s hard to believe his sincerity of his love and concern of Boise and it’s residents.

  8. Dave Kangas
    Mar 7, 2020, 11:36 am

    Personally I like the idea of nationwide searches. New blood shakes things up, new energy, new ideas, different experiences. It also avoids the buildings of “fifedoms” within an agency.

  9. In another article, Doan told the media that “it wasn’t about money, it was about time,” when he first tried to negotiate his retirement with McLean. If it wasn’t about money or power play with a (female) mayor, then why didn’t he offer UNpaid leave for two months?

  10. Doan Dodges Being Deposed?

  11. The $17M was a fictitious number from the beginning.
    The plan from the beginning was that, if voters approved the bond, it would show the council that citizens supported the fire department’s plans. Then the council would approve paying the difference from the general fund. Which is exactly what happened.

  12. Questions for the new chief and most certainly for the Mayor and City Council. Boise Guardian could ask.

    1. Why are there currently two unmanned stations in city inventory while you desperately seek funding for rehabs and remodels of existing stations?

    2. Will you allow compensated volunteers to staff the Hidden Springs station?

    3. What has become of the old training facility on Shoreline drive?

    4. Does the new training facility accommodate Meridian and Eagle and Kuna? If, not, why?

    5. Are you ever going to rename station 16 as a Boise Fire Station and not North Ada County Fire & Rescue?

    6. Any plans to bring the Orchard Training site on again/ off again manned station under Boise Fire? There are current development plans for the Orchard / Mayfield area.

    7. University of Idaho and the Moscow Fire Dept. has a residency program. Seems to work for the University in Moscow. Why not establish a station near BSU and do something similar?

    8. If the interim chief of Boise Fire is good why not make it permanent? Doing a nationwide search costs money and time, etc.

  13. Money First
    Mar 8, 2020, 10:46 pm

    Treefort and COVID-19. Money first. Safety second or third?

    Yes, totally and tragically off topic.

    So have you ever noticed the shoes of the hospital people in contamination garb never get covered, changed, or even cleaned? Why not? Veterinarians step their boots in a green solution… why not the hospital doctors and nurses too.

  14. David – Here is a bit of info. for your questions, of which Boise Guardian has provided answers in the past and public records show the following:

    The 2 unmanned stations (Chinden & Hidden Springs) belong in full to NACFR – North Ada County Fire & Rescue District. Unless NACFR was dissolved, these stations will not belong to Boise and will not be renamed. Boise Fire makes it sound like they own them but they only actually have the firefighters as Boise City employees. The buildings, land and some of the equipment is strictly NACFR.

    And the NACFR Station 16 on Glenwood is on leased land owned by Ada County, so a third party is involved.

  15. Not da Mommie
    Mar 9, 2020, 9:39 am

    The question about volunteers in Hidden Springs would start with the fire district commissioners, whether they’d like to try yet again to restart their volunteer program. Previous attempts in recent years have failed.
    The Orchard station is federal employees on federal land several miles outside the city, so no. Any development in Mayfield, Elmore County, would most likely involve the developers starting their own fire district.

    No.7 confuses me. Boise already has stations all around BSU. Are you suggesting that the city build another, on campus, so that a few volunteer firemen from around Idaho would have a place to live while going to school? BSU already has those buildings; they’re called dorms.

    EDITOR NOTE–Trained volunteers staffing a shift can be a good idea, but the union guys have held it down for years. Boise works on a contract with NACFR. Same deal with Whitney FD to the south. Orchard is confusing. It operates as an actual fire district with full time civilian firefighters based in the National Guard training range and they have a contract with Idaho Dept. of Transportation to cover a stretch of freeway. A former Boise firefighter has a rural group of volunteers called the Oasis FD in the Mayfield-Orchard area. A reader tells us it is an ad valorem taxing district.

    Regarding BSU, Boise FD provides free fire protection, but charges around $1 million a year for coppers at BSU. Makes no sense.

  16. Oasis is a legitimate fire district with taxing authority

  17. For those who misunderstood question 7 I posted here is a link to what Moscow FD does with regard to housing in exchange for fire duty:

    EDITOR NOTE–The university has also helped pay for fire equipment, including a ladder truck needed to protect the multi-story campus structures.

  18. Eamonn Harter
    Mar 9, 2020, 7:56 pm

    I was right! Big surprise, Dave B. has washed up at Gardner Company after taking a few weeks off acquiring a tan in the tropics.

  19. I hope people realize that the former fire chief can say whatever he wishes/believes/thinks or knows to be true or not true, knowing that the City has the issue labeled as a personnel matter and therefore can not reply to anything he says. They can’t say one way or another if he did, or did not, do anything.

    EDITOR NOTE–We are concerned the City may have offered him a “non-disclosure agreement.” If true, that flies in the face of promised transparency in government. We deserve to know how much of OUR money was offered to him.

  20. A co-worker of mine who is a volunteer firefighter and has spoken with fellow firemen close to this issue, told me that there have been major disagreements between Ms McLean and Chief Doan for quite a while. It was said that she told him that if she were to win, she would ask him to resign. Well, she made it pretty quick with the admin leave move. He knew he was gone but needed a few days to get his effects in order. She didn’t wait. So she stuck the knife he knew was coming in….and turned it.

    That’s what I know about this. What WANT to know is the policy issues he had with her.

  21. Not just policies . . .

    Boise Code: 1-10B-3: Powers And Duties

    The Fire Chief shall exercise all powers and duties necessary and incidental to those authorized by the Constitution, Federal law, State Code, this Code and policies and procedures set forth by the Mayor and City Council. (1952 Code § 3-11-04; amd. 2019 Code)

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