City Council meeting: New Fire Chief, plus discourse on extra senior center space

Photo by JT Gomez, Clovis Roundup

November 6, 2023 – Monday night’s City Council meeting began with the confirmation of new Fire Chief, Chris Ekk. 

Fire Chief Chris Ekk has 23 years of experience in the fire service, including: MS Emergency Services Administration for Cal State Long Beach, Hanford Fire Chief, and Clovis Deputy Fire Chief. 

“I’m very humbled to be the next fire chief in this amazing department in this amazing city,” said Chris Ekk. “I take this opportunity seriously, and I will do my best to uphold the city’s mission.”

After his brief speech and thanking his family, Chris Ekk swore in as the new City of Clovis Fire Chief. Public Comments quickly followed.

Two Clovis residents spoke about affordable housing. Both residents asked for the public to have updates and progress insight related to the issue.

One public speaker talked about how he usually watches the meeting online, and that there’s only a small box of the video from inside the chamber.

The concerned citizen expressed that he thinks it would be in the public’s best interest to be able to see what is going on in the chamber during the council meetings. He even suggested a camera aimed towards the crowd.

One of the items on the consent calendar was the Planning and Development Services request for approval on amending the 2023-2024 Community Investment Program Budget for General Government Facilities, addition of Senior Center Tenant Improvement in the amount of $1.5 million. 

Saint Agnes was originally supposed to build a medical facility on the Senior Center grounds, but they pulled out of that plan. Now, what was being proposed for that area is some “needed” office space. 

Councilmember Matt Basgall raised concerns about that area going from being a potential revenue source (if Saint Agnes had built the medical facility) to becoming a source of additional incurring costs for the city.

Councilmember Basgall spoke about taking some time to try to find a new partner to build something in that space that could be a source of revenue, instead of building the new office space.

“While I agree that we totally need space, we need to find locations—I’m just concerned if we’re giving up the opportunity for a revenue source to be a part of that [building], when it was originally set for that,” said Councilmember Basgall.

Much discussion was had among the City Council about this topic. A question was raised about if it was a requirement that the area be used specifically for something related to seniors or senior health.

“It wasn’t a requirement, […] but I think the intent was—in the best senior center we could create—what would be added value to our residents, and that’s where health came in,” said Mayor Ashbeck.

A City of Clovis staff member gave several examples of exactly how needed the office spaces are. She talked about a staff member who only had a table and not a desk, a conference room filled with filing cabinets, and so on. 

One of the items on the agenda was about Landscape Maintenance Districts, and the votes that were recently turned in.

Another item on the agenda was in reference to the Blackhorse Assessment District.

Item 18 on the agenda was the adoption of City Council Protocols, most of which were discussed in one of last month’s City Council meetings.

The full council meeting can be found on the City of Clovis website.

Destiny De La Cruz is a budding journalist with a passion for photojournalism. As a Fresno State alumni, she earned a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication & Journalism, the Film & Media Arts option with a minor in Anthropology. She has an interest in all things film, food, literature & outdoors.