Skaling proud to be elected Canning fire chief
Former chief Weisner to remain valued asset to organization
He is proud to take over the helm of the Canning Fire Department and says the former chief will remain a valued member of the organization and a great resource.
The Canning department’s election procedure began with nominations in October and was finalized at a meeting on Dec. 17. Jeff Skaling was elected chief with responsibilities taking effect on Jan. 1. In Canning, the fire chief and other senior officers are elected to two- year terms.
“It’s a lot of responsibility being chief, so you have to take that in stride,” Skaling said.
He will take over from Rick Weisner, who served as chief for the past decade and, before that, as deputy chief for 18 years. Skaling said he feels proud to have been elected to take control of the department’s reigns.
During Weisner’s time as chief, Skaling and Scott Cruickshank served as deputies. Skaling said they worked well together and made a great team, something he is confident will continue now that Scott Cruickshank has been elected deputy chief and Mark Cruickshank has moved up to assistant deputy chief.
“Luckily, we share the workload very well,” Skaling said. “Our whole department is like that, we’re really fortunate we’ve got a good group of people at Canning.”
He said Weisner would remain with the department and will be “an incredibly valuable asset” even though he is no longer chief. Skaling said he would be keeping Weisner on speed dial.
“His wisdom will be no further away than a phone call,” Skaling said.
As with almost any volunteer group, especially within the fire service, Skaling said it’s getting harder and harder to find and retain volunteers. They currently have 40 members but, with the new fire hall, they have room for several more. Skaling said the department’s members are very dedicated, contributing thousands of volunteer hours each year.
Because there was such limited space in the old hall, the department’s present bylaws cap membership at 50. One of Skaling’s goals as chief is to complete a review of the bylaws and make amendments where appropriate, such as to the maximum number of members. A committee has been struck to undertake the work. It’s been about eight years since the bylaws have been reviewed.
Skaling said with the recent construction of the multi complex that now houses the fire department, they don’t plan to spend a lot of money tackling other capital projects for a while. However, some money was saved through stringent budgeting during the construction project and this will be used to pave the rear firefighter parking area in 2019. The department’s crest was recently added and flagpoles will be put up in front of the building in the spring.
“We had to cut some things during the building project to make sure we stayed within budget and now we will be able to gradually complete those little projects going forward,” Skaling said.
Jeff Skaling has been elected chief of the Canning Fire Department. He begins his new role on Jan. 1.