Engineering consultant firm releases report highlighting future for Holmen Area Fire Department

HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) – A few weeks ago, News 8 Now learned that Holmen Area Fire Department Chief Buck Manley was placed on paid administrative leave.

Village leaders say the decision was made based on two key reports about the department, as well as a pending shared-services agreement.

In December 2020, the Wisconsin Policy Forum released a report on the department highlighting some of its main problems.

The department is very short-staffed right now with just 15 firefighters, most of them paid on-call volunteers.

Its emergency response times are much slower than national standards.

McMahon Associates, an engineering consultant firm, established its own report about the department in April.

News 8 Now received the report Friday. In it, McMahon Associates says the fire department needs to improve its legal compliance, effectiveness and efficiency, putting them at risk for issues with liability. It also mentions the department should restructure and implement shared services with the La Crosse and possibly Onalaska Fire Departments. La Crosse Fire Chief Ken Gilliam may step in as the interim chief of Holmen, but McMahon believes that would be a part of a long-term shared service plan with multiple local governments.

McMahon Associates is overseeing administration with the department for the time being.

McMahon Associates’ report can be found below.

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