Summit Fire & EMS selects new board members

Summit County residents Joe Slivka and Dan Johnson beat out two competitors in election held Tuesday

Joe Ben Slivka, Mike Rifkin, Dan Johnson and Ben Broughton ran for two open seats for the Summit Fire & EMS board of directors. Slivka and Johnson were elected to the board on May 3, 2022.
Courtesy images

Joe Slivka and Dan Johnson earned seats on the Summit Fire and EMS board of directors. They’ll join President Lori Miller, Vice President Jen Barchers and board member Linda St. John.

Slivka and Johnson garnered 164 and 144 votes, respectively. Incumbent Ben Broughton lost his bid for reelection after he received 101 votes. Challenger Mike Rifkin also failed to pull in enough votes, 72 total.

“While stand-alone elections for small special districts like ours often don’t attract a lot of attention, we are very pleased with the voters who turned out and the quality candidates who threw their hats into the ring for these volunteer positions,” Summit Fire & EMS Chief Travis Davis said in a statement following the results. “Our board members represent all of us in guiding and setting policy for our organization, and it’s great that we had such interest.”

The unofficial results will go through a verification process before certification and the eventual swearing in of the top two candidates.

Board members are responsible for the management and financial oversight of Summit Fire & EMS and does not concern themselves with day-to-day operations. The fire district provides services to Copper Mountain, Frisco, Dillon, Dillon Valley, Heeney, Keystone, Montezuma and Silverthorne. It also provides services to the unincorporated areas of Summit Cove and Wildernest.

Eligibility requirements mandated that candidates were registered voters in Colorado. The also had to be a resident, taxpayer or property owner in the district. Spouses of taxpayers or property owners were also allowed to run.

Dan Johnson

New board member Johnson has lived in Summit Cove for about 22 years and has worked with a fire department on the Front Range for about 20 years. While running for election, he said he believes that he has ideas that would help guide the organization to become a leader in the region thanks to experience working with internal and external stakeholders in his current roles. Facilitating conversations between various stakeholders was a key part of Johnson’s campaign.

Prior to his election, his biggest concern related to employee retention. He wanted to help staff find safe and stable places to live and voiced support for collaborating with the Summit Combined Housing Authority as well as local Realtors.

“We can buy all the equipment we want, but if we do not retain employees, we are stuck in a cycle of always looking to replace the numbers that are leaving,” Johnson said. “We need to look at reasons for (why) these employees are leaving.”

Joe Slivka

New board member Slivka works as a director of engineering for a Fortune 500 company and has been a Summit County resident for more than 40 years.

Beyond his familiarity with Summit County, he has prior experience with public safety and has held various positions with Summit Fire & EMS, the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District and the Summit County Communications Center. Slivka said he wants to use his experience in public safety to help the greater Summit County community.

“My desire to serve on the board of directors is simple: I want to make a difference in the community I call home,” he said in a prior interview with Summit Daily News. “I want to ensure that the lives and property in our community are protected to the maximum extent possible with the funding we have available, and I want to help build a pathway to the future for fire and (emergency management services) in our community.”

Before being elected, Slivka pointed to numerous issues that have caught his attention. Securing additional funding for Summit Fire & EMS, recruiting and retaining employees, ensuring the district can adequately respond to calls in a reasonable amount of time, building on its emergency management services department and increasing wildfire mitigation efforts were on his list of issues.

Slivka runs a software development team focused on building software and solutions specifically for public safety and works with agencies all over the world. Before the election he said he views Summit Fire & EMS as a business with multiple revenue streams that can be tapped to help sustain it into the future.

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