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The Miller County Volunteer Fire Department Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to consider the new VFD Handbook. The meeting will be held in the second floor courtroom of the Miller County Courthouse.

The handbook is modeled after what is used by Conway County's Fire Department and also creates an emergency services district for the county.

Miller County Judge Cathy Hardin Harrison has said that she thinks the new handbook is a "perfect solution" for the county's VFDs, which currently operate under guidelines prepared by the firefighters and the Miller County Rural Volunteer Fire Association.

Harrison has received support for the new handbook from some of the fire chiefs, she said, but some are completely against the change.

George Goynes, chairman of the Miller County Rural Volunteer Fire Association, has said he is not happy that the judge modified the Conway handbook for Miller County without asking for their input.

He previously told the Gazette she was cutting them out completely, that they have no say so in the handbook and that he believed the judge was not wanting to work with them.

Harrison said that she did not include them in the process because the way the departments have operated in the past was not working and that the new guidelines will create accountability for all the departments. She also said that while many of the departments complete their administrative duties on time, including paperwork, others have not, which causes an issue with the state auditing process.

If the handbook is approved by the committee and then the Quorum Court, a five-member board will be put in place to oversee the departments.

Two of the members would be nominated by justices of the peace, two by Harrison and one by the volunteer fire department. Items over a certain amount would have to be approved by the board and if they are denied, that fire department could appeal to the VFD Committee, which can deny the item or bring it to the Quorum Court.

The Volunteer Fire Departments include Boggy Creek, Genoa, Mandeville, Bright Star, Trinity, Satellite, Pleasant Hill, Doddridge and Booker Bridge.

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