Curtis, who first joined the Moab Fire Department as a volunteer in 1980, has served as the assistant fire chief since 1985. In July, Curtis was appointed acting fire chief while then-fire chief Corky Brewer was on paid administrative leave. The Moab Valley Fire Protection Commission officially accepted Brewer’s resignation on Aug. 13.
The commission’s decision to appoint Curtis will mark some changes in the structure of the department. Curtis will serve as a part-time fire chief while Mosher will be a full-time assistant chief, said William “Izzy” Nelson, chairman of the Fire Protection Commission.
“In view of Monte’s long tenure as assistant chief, we felt it a logical step for him to serve as chief,” Nelson said. “Inasmuch as he is a business owner, a full-time position was out of the question.”
Curtis owns and operates Nelson’s Heating and Refrigeration in Moab. He also served as the president of the Utah State Firemen’s Association from 1999 to 2000.
Curtis said local residents will see no change in the services provided by the district’s mostly volunteer fire department.
“The chain of command, response and training is essentially the nuts and bolts of what we do,” he said, “and that’s going to remain the same.”
In addition to Curtis, the fire district currently has three full-time staff positions, and 37 volunteer firefighters, he said.
“It’s an honor to serve volunteers in the community,” Curtis said this week. “There’s a newfound excitement within the department and we’re working to make everyone feel like it’s their department. Everyone has a vested interest in the department and how we perform.”
Mosher joined the fire department as a volunteer in January 1998. He became the district’s full-time administrative assistant in 2007. He said he is honored by the commission’s decision.
“It was really nice,” Mosher said. “Our philosophy always is that we don’t make the department, the volunteers do ... We’ve had volunteers for over 40 years, so we must be doing something right.”
Nelson said the commission felt Mosher was the logical choice.
“Phil has been a fireman for a number of years, and has been a full-time administrative assistant for six years and therefore heavily involved in day-to-day operation of the department,” Nelson said. “We felt it logical to elevate him to assistant chief, and also gave him the title of administrative officer with the responsibility for day-to-day operation ... He, more than anyone else, has a grasp of the operation and duties of the department.”
Nelson said the fire district hopes to hire a new administrative assistant from within the district to fill the job formerly held by Mosher.
“We felt these job assignments would provide the greatest continuity [and] the least disruption to the operation of the department,” Nelson said. “The local residents should see no change or disruption in fire protection.”