Thorp Area Fire and Ambulance District hires Paul Skibbie as full time Fire/EMS Chief


The Thorp Area Fire and Ambulance District held a special meeting on March 12 to discuss and approve the hiring of a full time Fire/EMS Chief.
“We’ve talked about this for several years. It’s come to the point where we finally are going to have to make the move to do it,” said Thorp Area Fire Board President Tom Smasal.
“It’s a long time coming.”
Attendees questioned if the position would be open to someone from another fire district, and the Board expressed many times that they would prefer to “keep the position in house at this point.”
“To keep people working together is a struggle,” said Smasal. “We like not to have struggles. We aim to get away from that. We’d like to keep that in house as much as possible.”
As Smasal described the need for a full-time chief position, he added, “We had 44 ambulance calls in February alone. It’s getting tough around here.”
The board told the townships that there is enough money to support the budgets for the remainder of this year, so the townships won’t need to raise the money yet. After the first of the year, each township will need to annually pay $18.45 per household with the exception of the Village of Lublin and the Town of Roosevelt which will pay $9.22 per household.
“Just remember the people of Thorp and the surrounding townships and community, they deserve, you all deserve, we deserve the same quality of Fire and EMS protection that Eau Claire has, that Minneapolis has, that anywhere has,” said one attendee.
“When you dial 911, you want someone to come. There’s a reason you’re dialing 911,” interjected another attendee.
“We have to look at the future.” Smasal said.
First made by Art Stolp, Supervisor 2 for the Town of Worden, the motion was unanimously passed to create a full time Fire/EMS Chief position at a salary base of $70,000 per year. As the special meeting concluded, Strzok thanked the District for attending the meeting.
“We make the decisions, it’s not just one of us and we try to do the best for the community. It isn’t the prettiest job sometimes,” said Smasal.
Immediately after the end of the special meeting, the Thorp Area Fire and Ambulance District held a regular meeting where the position was offered to current Thorp Fire Chief Paul Skibbie at a salary base of $70,000 per year. Skibbie, who was also celebrating his birthday that evening, accepted the newly created position with a start date set to be determined as he gets his affairs in order.