2017 State of Utah Audit
The Unified Fire Authority experienced significant change in 2016. By the end of the year the four top administrators were no longer employed, the morale of the organization was at an all-time low and the organization was the subject of a state audit. The Audit was released in January 2017, the same day as Dan Petersen assumed the Fire Chief/CEO position with UFA after a 38-year career in the Oregon Fire Service. The Board of Directors released the following statements on January 18, 2017:
“We as a board take our oversight responsibilities very seriously and know we can be better. We are still reviewing the audits and will look to find ways to improve our communication and oversight with UFA. While many changes and improvements have already been implemented, we will continue developing better ways to ensure the residents of the communities in our areas receive the absolute best service.”
UFA Board Vice Chair Chris Pengra
“An audit is a healthy process for any organization to go through. We are grateful for the work the auditors did in finding areas we can improve and will immediately begin work on evaluating the recommendations. The Firefighters delivering emergency service to the community never reduced their commitment to the community. The Men and Women riding the engines continued to deliver high quality service throughout all these administrative challenges.”
UFA Fire Chief Dan Petersen
The Board of Directors, Chief Petersen, and the entire leadership team engaged in addressing the identified challenges while bringing transparency and best practices to the UFA. Immediately, a report began capturing the progress on the 126 recommendations in the Audit. The continually updated report was posted on the website and delivered to all 28 Fire Stations in an effort to begin the transition to transparency.
In a 2018 survey of elected officials and professional staff in the municipalities served by the UFA:
- 80.5% felt the UFA was moving in the right direction, with an additional 15.6% stating “Probably so” and 3.9% “Unsure.” No responses were received in the “No,” or “Probably not” category.
- 100% of the respondents who were involved with the UFA prior to January of 2017 had seen or noticed improvement in the UFA since the audit.
UFA is proud of the progress since 2016, however, we will never forget the lessons from the experience.