The Mills Town Council has hired Dave North effective immediately as the emergency services manager and fire chief, according to a news release from the council on Monday morning.

North will oversee the administrative functions, personnel management, equipment maintenance and coordination with other Natrona County emergency service providers, the council said.

"He brings extensive training and experience to the position, including law enforcement, wildland fire supervisory training and industrial safety and planning that makes him uniquely suited for the position," the council said.

The town advertised the position on Sept. 2, received 10 applications, selected two candidates for interviews and selected North at a special town council meeting at 9 a.m. Monday.

North most recently was an unsuccessful candidate to fill a vacant seat on the Natrona County Commission.

North replaces former Fire Chief Dan Beall who was asked to resign a year ago.

The town said in a news release that it appreciated Beall's service, but gave no reason for why he was asked to resign.

In April, Mills Mayor Seth Coleman said the town would shut down its fire department with the exception of an administrative staff at the end of June. The town council had passed a resolution dealing with a structural funding problem it has had for years in paying for a full-time fire department.

The town has spent between $1.1 million to $1.3 million a year for the past several years for the department, he said.

The announcement took other fire departments in Natrona County by surprise.

Coleman said the town would look at options including contracting with other agencies or possibly going to a partial- or all-volunteer fire department.

Representatives of the  union said the announcement of  the layoffs was in retaliation for a breakdown in negotiations for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, an assertion Coleman denied.

In June, the firefighters reached a collective bargaining agreement with the town to provide fire and emergency services for the new fiscal year.

A representative of Mills Professional Firefighters 4961 said the union is still waiting for more information and has no comment at this time.

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