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Tod Carlini selected new fire chief

by Christy Chalmers

East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts Chief Tod Carlini will soon have a new address to match his new title.

Carlini, 42, was picked Thursday to head the districts, succeeding Jim Reinhardt, who retired in May. The Douglas County Commission, which also acts as the governing board for the districts, unanimously selected Carlini, a deputy East Fork chief, over James Wilson, a deputy fire chief with the Mariposa County, Calif., fire department.

“They’re really both quite good,” said Commissioner Bernie Curtis. “I would be comfortable with either, but more comfortable with Tod.”

Carlini spent Friday attending meetings and ironing out the details of the job, which has a salary range of $52,811 to $71,988. Carlini indicated he is willing to work without a contract, a trend that has been applied to Douglas County administrators since County Manager Dan Holler began working without one. In his application, Carlini asked for a starting salary of $58,000.

He learned of the commission’s decision minutes after it was made. A few of the volunteer fire chiefs sought him out downstairs at the old courthouse to offer hugs, handshakes and congratulations.

“I’m very optimistic about moving into the position,” said Carlini. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.”

Carlini’s familiarity with Douglas County – he has worked for East Fork for more than two years – proved to be the deciding factor, though the commissioners suggested Wilson might be a good replacement for Carlini, whose deputy chief position now needs to be filled.

Carlini got a taste of the chief’s duties over the past month, when the deputy chiefs shared the acting chief responsibilities. He isn’t intimidated by his new title.

“It’s something that is not new to me. It’s just on a larger scale, a grander scale,” he said.

Carlini was chief of the Mason Valley Fire Protection District from 1990-97, when he joined East Fork as a captain and training officer. He was promoted to East Fork deputy chief of emergency medical services and administration in 1999.

He grew up in Lyon County and started his career as a cadet with the Yerington Fire Department in 1975, then moved through the ranks as a firefighter and medic. He left for a year in 1985-86 and worked as a firefighter at the U.S. Army ammunition plant in Hawthorne, returning to Lyon County to work with the Mason Valley Fire Protection District.

Though Carlini still lives in Yerington, he assured the commissioners he’ll be moving to Douglas County.

Carlini and Wilson each endured 45 minutes of questioning by the commissioners on everything from their management styles to their salary requirements.

Commissioner Steve Weissinger was impressed by Carlini’s response to a question about how he would “tune in” to the public’s needs. Carlini said he would seek public comments and try to raise East Fork’s profile.

He said he doesn’t expect to make any major changes in the day-to-day operations of the districts, but he wants to meet with different groups and explain his philosophies.

Sixteen people applied for the job, and seven were selected for interviews by a committee that included volunteer fire chiefs, county administrators and professionals from other agencies.

Holler said four of those applicants withdrew, and the committee recommended Carlini and Wilson for final interviews.