Lucas Banton has been hired as the Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department’s new fire chief after negotiations with former fire Chief Mike Sparrow fell through. The decision was announced at a Cherry Creek Water Works District annual general meeting at the Cherry Creek Hall on April 13.
“I was asked by the officers because I have my 1001 training for fire fighting and my fire officer rank,” said Banton following the meeting. He has been with the department for 14 years, nine of them as a captain.
Banton said he didn’t know the details of why Sparrow was no longer fire chief and only that the water works district—which funds the fire department—and Sparrow couldn’t come to an agreement.
“We’re not privy to all the information but what we were told is that there was a stalemate with contract negotiations that went on for number of months, I heard somewhere around nine months that they’d been working on it and they couldn’t come anywhere close to a compromise so they just called it quits and did not renew the contract,” said Banton.
“That left the fire department with a tough situation to figure out whether to post it outside externally or look internally for a new fire chief.”
Banton also sits as the Cherry Creek director on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional Board. Both Banton and Cherry Creek Waterworks District chair Paige Hill said that there was no conflict of interest in hiring Banton as the new fire chief. The ACRD does not fund the Cherry Creek fire department.
“There’s no conflict,” said Hill. “There’s enough of a firewall between them.”
Banton agreed, noting that he would abstain from any decisions regarding the fire department.
“They’re two separate organizations. [Directors] are elected positions with the ACRD and this is a contract. So it’s not a conflict of interest but if there are situations that come up in the ACRD that deal with fire then I have to actually step out,” said Banton.
“I don’t have a voice when it comes to a situation where it might benefit myself on the ACRD board and I don’t have any leverage over the [Cherry Creek] water board. They make their own decision.”
Cherry Creek residents also voted on two Cherry Creek water board trustee positions. Incumbent and chair Paige Hill was re-elected and Burt Budding was newly elected to the board.