Inter-Canyon theft prompts newcomer to run for board

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Morrison resident Prielipp seeks ‘right oversight’

By Daniel Laverty

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of profiles of candidates running for the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District board in May’s election.

Morrison resident Kerry Prielipp decided to run for the Inter-Canyon Fire District board after hearing about the theft and embezzlement allegations against former fire chief David MacBean.

“I don’t understand how this could’ve happened if there was the right oversight,” Prielipp said. “As a taxpayer and as a citizen, I want to be a part of the solution.”

MacBean is accused of stealing approximately $643,000 from the district’s reserve fund between 2010 and 2012. MacBean’s next hearing is scheduled for April 7.

A political newcomer

Prielipp submitted his self-nomination form two days before the Feb. 28 deadline. It’s his first time running for an elective office.

“I was thinking about running for about a week and a half,” he said. “After seeing that only the incumbents were running, that’s what pushed me over the line.

“Now, I’m not saying that any of (the current board members) weren’t doing their jobs or anything. I just don’t understand how there can be that much of a lack of oversight.”

Prielipp does third-party consulting for Oracle, a software company with offices in Broomfield and the Denver Tech Center.

“I know the limits of funding and how you need to make the right choices,” he said. “If elected, I want to make sure we’ve got an air-tight business process that can be monitored and is transparent to taxpayers and volunteers of the department.”

In the wake of the theft, Inter-Canyon’s current board has introduced new financial policies, including canceling district credit cards and requiring multiple approvals for purchases.

Prielipp said he’s never attended an Inter-Canyon board meeting, and that a scheduling conflict might prohibit him from making the April 9 meeting. If elected, he said, he could adjust his schedule to attend all meetings.

“This was just a case of something for work already being scheduled,” he said. 

Prielipp said he was open to the possibility of asking taxpayers for a property-tax increase or to approve a bond.

“Obviously, if it’s something we’d have to ask for in the next six months or so, it’d be a hard thing to ask for,” he said. “If elected, my focus will always be, ‘What’s the best thing for our property owners and our first responders?’ ”

After living in Denver for more than 30 years, Prielipp moved to mountains 11 years ago to take advantage of outdoor activities.

“I moved here to ski and to mountain bike,” he said. “It’s nice to get away from the daily grind of the city.”

Election Day is May 6

Prielipp joins three incumbents  — Leslie Caimi, Karl Firor and Michael Reddy — vying for three four-year terms on the Inter-Canyon Board of Directors. Incumbent Joe Marcus was the only candidate to run for the two-year term and will remain on the board.

Board member Ralph Dreher’s seat is up for election in 2016.

Board members Firor and Caimi were not on the board when the alleged theft occurred.

Inter-Canyon’s election will be May 6. Polls will be set up at Station 1, 7939 S. Turkey Creek Road in Morrison.

Formed in 1954, the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District serves 55 square miles of Deer Creek Canyon, Turkey Creek Canyon, Morrison and parts of Waterton Canyon. Operating with approximately 60 volunteers, the district has five stations and 15 vehicles.

The next Inter-Canyon board meeting is at 7 p.m. April 9 at Station 1.

For more information, visit www.intercanyonfire.org.