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Saratoga Springs Chief Leaving for Kansas

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  • Saratoga Springs Chief Leaving for Kansas

    Saratoga Springs fire chief moving to Kansas

    Saratoga Springs Fire Chief, Tim Hay, is moving to Kansas to take a fire chief position in his home town of Wellington, Kan. After serving the community for three years, his last day will be on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010. Photo by Cathy Allred .
    ..During Tim Hay's administration
    Bought a jet rescue boat

    Opened a second fire station

    Reduced response time

    Retained level 5 ISO rating

    Received SAFR grant to hire 6 full-time employees

    Ordered second ambulance (arrives in October)

    Tim Hay ended his three-year career as Saratoga Springs fire chief today leaving behind firefighters caught between its council's indecision to keep the municipal fire department or go with the Unified Fire Authority.

    "On behalf of the city we want to thank you for your service to Saratoga Springs and its residents," said Mayor Mia Love at the council's Aug. 31 meeting.

    Hay opted to take the position of fire chief offered him in his hometown of Wellington, Kan., after a 21-year stay in Utah. He said city leaders taking their time to determine whether or not to dissolve the city's fire department and contract with the UFA played somewhat into his decision to leave.

    "It's been hard on the department for the last eight months," Hay said. "It's been drawn out. They still haven't made up their mind."

    The UFA representatives brought cost estimates to the Tuesday meeting, and the city fire chief also brought price comparisons. With thousands of dollars difference in the estimates, the Saratoga City Council members decided to hold off on a decision until after the new city manager, Mark Christensen, was working full time for the city -- a few months away.

    Hay said that there were no advantages in going with the Unified Fire Authority, a fire and medical agency in Salt Lake County. Saratoga Springs's fire department has the same resources as do its neighboring municipal fire and rescue departments.

    "You have an undecided future hanging over your head," Hay said. "It's difficult."

    Hay has been taking three to four trips each year to Kansas to visit family. While he says he feels a little nervous about his new position in Wellington, he looks forward to being closer to relatives and friends.

    While the future remains undecided for his co-workers, Hay is not worried about his crews. "There is talent and motivation here to keep it all going, to keep it our own entity," he said.

    Hay came on as the department chief when former Fire Chief Mike Penovich died in a car crash.

    "Mike himself couldn't have picked a better replacement," said firefighter Tim Speck. "The hardest thing of him leaving is three chiefs in five years."

    Saratoga Springs Capt. Steve Chaffin said he has seen four chiefs come and go during his 16 years as a firefighter, and Hay is the best.

    "He's been very supportive of staff," Chaffin said. "He's letting us be leaders. He's letting us take care of things."

    He said the department is suffering a huge loss with Hay leaving and that he was a great role model for firefighters to follow.

    "This city is losing not only a great chief, but these firefighters are losing their best friend," Chaffin said.

    As for the city's stalling on whether or not it would go with the UFA, Chaffin said either choice is good as long as it serves the needs of the community. He added that Saratoga Springs firefighters are up to the challenge of either staying with the city or working for UFA.

    "These firefighters in this organization can do that," he said. "I would put any one of these firefighters up against any other firefighter in the state."
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